Fertility and pregnancy

Little birth choice for UK women

Zone default image Vast majority have none

Over 95% of women in the UK are not able to choose where to give birth, a new report released today shows, despite offering women choice of where to give birth is Government policy across the UK.

Results from the report ‘Location, location, location’ by the National Childbirth Trust found that:

  • 95.8% of women do not yet have access to a real choice between the options of home birth with a midwife or a local birth centre, either stand-alone or attached to a hospital and an obstetric unit

  • 89% of women live in areas that realistically do not offer the choice of a home birth with a midwife

  • Over 40% of women live in areas without reasonable access to both a birth centre and an obstetric unit in a hospital

The report was commissioned by the NCT in light of the Government’s promise that all women in England will have access to choice of place of birth by the end of 2009.

The NCT wanted to know how many women in the UK actually have any choice. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also made similar policies that support the provision of choice for women.

Belinda Phipps, NCT chief executive, said: “There is a huge task ahead for trusts and boards as many are very behind in implementing this policy.

"For every ten pregnant women, nine are not able to choose where they want to give birth. We know across the UK, government policies support women with this choice. However, in reality this is not even close to being delivered yet.

“There are a few trusts and boards in the UK that are succeeding in offering women a real choice and these successes are to be celebrated. We now need the rest of the UK to catch up.”

This article was published on Mon 26 October 2009

Image © Anatoly Tiplyashin - Fotolia.com

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