Our aim is to empower women and their partners to make the best choice for them when deciding where to give birth. Which? Birth Choice gives independent advice on where to give birth as well as comprehensive information about NHS maternity facilities across the UK.
The website is designed to promote informed discussions with health professionals to help women match their own preferences and circumstances to their local services.
Which? Birth Choice is brought to you by Which?
Which? is the largest consumer organisation in Europe with over 800,000 members. We operate as an independent, a-political, social enterprise working for all consumers and funded solely by our commercial ventures. We receive no government money, public donations, or other fundraising income.
This site is part of Which?’s mission and contributes to Which?’s goal to make consumers as powerful as the organisations they deal with in their everyday lives.
The Birth Choice tool
The interactive Birth Choice tool is designed to encourage women to think about where would be most suitable for them to give birth – be that at home, in a birth centre or in a hospital labour ward.
The recommendations of the tool are based on guidelines on place of birth from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the results of the Birthplace Study from the British Medical Journal (2011) as well as considerations for women’s personal preferences. The tool continues to be updated according to updates to national clinical guidelines.
The scenarios that the tool produces take into account women’s personal preferences and circumstances and they were tested with pregnant women and assessed by the Which? Birth Choice Project Review Board. The review board was made up of a number of experts to ensure that the results generated by each scenario were clinically appropriate, whilst recognising women’s autonomy to make their own choices. We would like to thank the Project Review Board who provided advice throughout the development of the Which? Birth Choice website:
- Sheena Byrom OBE – Midwifery Advisor, former Head of Midwifery, Chair of the RCM Campaign for Normal Birth and author of the Sunday Times bestseller “Catching Babies”
- Pauline Cooke – Consultant Midwife, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
- Dr. Kirstie Coxon B.Sc (Hons) Midwifery, MA, PhD, RN, RM – Research Associate and NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Fellow at Kings College London, specialising in maternity research and birth place decisions
- Gill Gyte – former NCT antenatal teacher and Consumer Editor, Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group
- Dr Daghni Rajasingam – Consultant Obstetrician and lead for the Birth Centres at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust and Council member of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Award winning decision-making resource
In 2016, Which? Birth Choice won the British Medical Association (BMA) Special Award for ‘Information That Aids Decision Making”. This special award is for resources which facilitate the patient decision making process and recognise the importance of improving patients’ ability to take responsibility for their health.
The BMA said: “This is a great resource. The main information is really focused and tailored and provides good decision support around a challenging area for new mums in particular… This really puts power in the hands of users and helps them make informed evidence-based choices.”
The site was designed and launched in 2014 in collaboration with the maternity data experts BirthChoiceUK. BirthChoiceUK continue to be involved through their role as our data supplier for nationally reported maternity statistics that are displayed for NHS labour wards across the UK.
The Birth Choice tool is also still reviewed by BirthChoiceUK on an ad-hoc basis to support us in ensuring that the tool provides clinically appropriate search results that simultaneously recognise women’s own preferences.
If you’re a health professional looking for more detailed information on maternity and birth statistics and information on national trends please visit the BirthChoiceUK website for professionals.
Get in touch
Whether you’re expecting a baby or are a midwife or other maternity professional, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback or questions about the site.
If you have any press queries relating to this site, please contact the Which? press office on: 020 7770 7582/7562.
Which? is not a provider of, or advisor on, any type of health care. No information or opinions on the Which? Birth Choice website are provided by way of health care advice and are in no way intended to replace advice from a suitably qualified health care professional. A ‘Best Fit’ or ‘Good Fit’ label is only an indication of a birth setting and location that is suitable based on the details you submit to the website. It does not constitute medical advice nor guarantee availability of your option. It’s your responsibility to discuss your choice with healthcare professionals to find the right place for you to give birth.
Whilst every care has been taken in researching the information included on this website, no responsibility can be accepted for any inaccuracy or omission, or for any of the information being out-of-date. Maternity units open, close, move and change status on a regular basis. While we make every effort to keep our database current, there may be options available which are not shown, or some options shown may not be available either permanently or temporarily. Maternity statistics are derived from nationally collected data which may be inaccurate and/or incomplete, and these shouldn’t be relied upon to make decisions in isolation.
Users should confirm the data with the hospital or other body concerned, and obtain confirmation of research findings either from the original source or from a medical practitioner. Users of the site must accept that the health of their baby cannot be guaranteed wherever they choose to give birth. Users shouldn’t choose where to have their baby based solely on the information on this website. No responsibility is accepted for any loss resulting from reliance on the information contained with this website.
The site is aimed at users planning to have their baby in the UK. It contains information which is not relevant for users outside the UK.
Which? is not responsible for the content of external websites and we do not review or vet the contents of any websites linked to from this site.