Navigating the Bureaucratic Maze of Freebirth – Notifying The Birth: A guide for expectant parents

how to notify an unassisted birth


As the founder of When Push Comes To Shove,  I’ve encountered countless stories of confusion and bureaucratic hurdles faced by women and families during one of the most pivotal moments of their lives. The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion, yet many find themselves navigating a complex and often bewildering administrative process simply to have their birth choices recognised and respected. I’ve witnessed firsthand the confusion and bureaucratic obstacles faced by women opting for unassisted childbirth. Despite the legality and protection under UK law, the deviation from conventional birth processes often results in a complex navigation through administrative procedures.

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The Legal Obligation to Notify

In the UK, the legal obligation to notify a birth typically falls on healthcare professionals within the system, who do so through established channels directly after the event. This process is straightforward for births occurring within medical facilities or under the supervision of healthcare providers. However, for those of us who choose the path of freebirthing, the journey can be markedly different and, at times, challenging.

Freebirthing, or unassisted childbirth, where no medical professional is present by choice, is entirely legal and protected under UK law. Yet, this choice can sometimes lead to confusion within the bureaucratic system, primarily because it deviates from the ‘norm.’ Many find themselves at odds with a system ill-prepared to accommodate the legal rights and processes surrounding unassisted births.

Proactive Communication with Healthcare Providers

To mitigate potential issues and ensure a smooth process for registering your child’s birth and obtaining their NHS number, I recommend informing your local hospital or maternity service of your intention to freebirth well in advance. This proactive approach can significantly reduce the likelihood of unwanted referrals to social services and ensure that your birth choice is documented and understood by the necessary parties. You can find template letter for this here.

Notifying CHIS of the birth of your child

For those navigating the  process, of notifying, I’ve prepared template letters to assist in communicating your intentions and actions below. One template is designed for proactive use, allowing you to notify Child Health Information Services (CHIS) and your local healthcare providers ahead of time. This step can help address any concerns or procedural requirements before the birth, allowing you to focus on your experience without unnecessary stress. The second template is for notifying CHIS and healthcare providers after your baby is born, should you choose to have a completely ‘wild’ pregnancy without prior notification.

Addressing Misconceptions

A common misconception you might encounter is the belief that a birth practitioner must physically assess your newborn within 6 hours of birth for the official notification process. This is, frankly, incorrect. If you’re faced with this claim, ask for the specific act and regulation that mandates such a requirement. The truth is, the law supports your right to an unassisted birth and does not impose such specific stipulations on the notification process.

The Bigger Picture

Navigating bureaucracy is a reality of our world, but by choosing to freebirth, you’re not only exercising your rights; you’re also contributing to a broader movement towards recognising and respecting the diversity of birthing choices. While this blog and the accompanying template letters are not legal advice—I am not a lawyer but an experienced advocate in this field—they are tools designed to support and empower you through this process. However, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and understand all aspects of birth before proceeding.

The path you’re choosing may not be the easiest, given the current bureaucratic landscape, but remember: you’re paving the way for future parents to have their choices recognised more seamlessly. Your courage and determination are contributing to a gradual but significant shift in how society views and accommodates unassisted births.

Disclaimer and Responsibility

Please use the template letters provided with care, and remember, while I strive to offer support and guidance, the responsibility to ensure all legal and procedural requirements are met rests with you.

I hope these resources prove helpful as you navigate your journey to parenthood on your terms.


Notification to CHIS Template Letters

notifying a free birth

Please search on google for your local CHIS to find the corresponding email address. It is also a good idea to cc in When Push Comes To Shove and AIMS. CC’ing organisations or individuals with expertise in birth rights lends credibility to your communications. It demonstrates that you have support from professionals or groups who understand the legal and ethical considerations involved in childbirth. This can encourage healthcare providers and authorities to take your requests and concerns more seriously, knowing that there’s oversight from knowledgeable third parties.


1) Proactive Template (email whilst pregnant)

Subject: Pre-Birth Notification and Clarification on NHS Number Issuance Process for Upcoming Unassisted Birth


Dear [Recipient’s Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to inform you of my intention to have an unassisted birth at home and to seek clarification on the process for obtaining an NHS number for my child, anticipated to be born on [expected due date]. My aim is to ensure all necessary steps are taken in advance to comply with legal requirements and facilitate a smooth process for the issuance of an NHS number following the birth.

Intention for Unassisted Birth:

I have decided, after careful consideration and understanding of my rights and the legal framework in the UK, to proceed with an unassisted birth at home. This decision has been made with full awareness of the responsibilities it entails, including the legal requirement to notify the Child Health Information Services (CHIS) of the birth.

Request for Clarification and Process Overview:

In preparation, I seek to understand the specific procedures and requirements from CHIS’s perspective for notifying you of the birth once it occurs, especially concerning the issuance of an NHS number for the newborn. Specifically, I would like clarification on the following points:


  • Notification Process: The preferred method and required information for notifying CHIS of the birth, ensuring all legal obligations are fulfilled.
  • Issuance of NHS Number: Contrary to popular belief and guidelines not based on any specific law, my understanding is that there is no legal requirement for a healthcare professional to see the baby within 6 hours of birth for the purpose of issuing an NHS number. I would appreciate confirmation that this understanding is correct and will not hinder the process of obtaining an NHS number for my child.
  • Documentation and Evidence: Any specific documentation or evidence required from my end to support the birth notification and facilitate the issuance of an NHS number.

Proactive Steps:

I aim to prepare all necessary documentation and information in advance to ensure a timely and efficient process post-birth. My goal is to preempt any potential issues or delays and ensure my child’s access to healthcare services is established from the outset.

I appreciate your cooperation and assistance in providing the requested information and guidance. Your support is crucial in helping us navigate this process with confidence and compliance.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your prompt and detailed response.



[Your Full Name]

[Your Contact Information]

[Your Address]

1) Post-birth Template Letter

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to formally notify the Child Health Information Services (CHIS) of the birth of my child, as per the legal requirements and in line with my rights to have an unassisted birth. This letter serves as the formal notification of my child’s birth, and I am providing all necessary information required for the process of generating an NHS number for my child.

Child’s Information:

Full Name: [Child’s Full Name]

Date of Birth: [DD/MM/YYYY]

Time of Birth: [HH:MM] AM/PM

Place of Birth: [Home Address or Location of Birth]

Parent(s) Name(s): [Parent(s) Full Name(s)]

Contact Information: [Email and Phone Number]

Legal Notification:

As parents who have chosen a legally unassisted birth, as protected under UK law, we understand our rights and obligations concerning the notification of our child’s birth. It is our understanding that upon notification to CHIS, it is CHIS’s obligation to take the necessary steps to ensure this information is processed appropriately, facilitating the issuance of an NHS number for our child.

Clarification on Healthcare Professional Requirement:

Contrary to popular belief and guidelines that are not based on any specific law, we are aware that there is no legal requirement for a healthcare professional to see the baby within 6 hours of birth for the purpose of issuing an NHS number. Therefore, we expect that this notification will be sufficient to initiate the process without unnecessary delays or requirements beyond what is stipulated by law.

It is our understanding, supported by the legal framework governing birth notifications and NHS registration in the UK, that once CHIS is notified of a birth, it is incumbent upon CHIS to ensure that this information is relayed to the NHS to facilitate the generation of an NHS number. This understanding is predicated on the role of CHIS in managing health information about children and ensuring they are registered within the NHS system.Should there be a contention that the requirement we were informed of exists within UK law, we ask that the specific act and regulation be cited to justify this claim.

Request for Action:

We kindly request that CHIS:


  • Acknowledge receipt of this notification.
  • Process this notification in line with your obligations to facilitate the prompt issuance of an NHS number for [Child’s Full Name].
  • Provide us with confirmation of the steps being taken to address this request and any further information or documentation required from our end.

We trust that CHIS will handle this matter with the urgency and diligence it requires, ensuring our child’s access to healthcare services through the timely issuance of an NHS number. Should there be any specific legal or procedural stipulations that you require from us, please provide detailed information, including references to the relevant legislation or guidelines.


Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your prompt response and the resolution of this process.




[Your Full Name]

[Your Contact Information]