Pregnant women are to be provided with personal budgets of at least £3,000 to spend on maternity services of their choice under plans proposed by the National Maternity Review.
The recommendations suggest that women should be given more control over the care they receive during their pregnancy, labour and once their baby has been born.
The independent review set up by NHS England suggests that this new approach would increase the options available to women while allowing them to make decisions about how and where they receive care.
The proposed changes would mean that as well as choosing where to give birth women would also be able to choose the type of care they receive – such as one-to-one midwifery care, home births and the use of birthing pools and hypnotherapy.
‘It’s crucial that expectant parents have access to the information they need’
‘Choice is essential when deciding how and where to give birth but it is crucial that expectant parents have access to the information they need in order to make decisions based on their individual needs,’ said Alex Neill at Which? Birth Choice.
‘Expectant parents should be directed to free websites, such as Which? Birth Choice, which provide tailored advice based on their local services and personal preferences.’
What maternity options are available to women and their partners?
Which? Birth Choice is a free resource that helps pregnant women and their partners understand what’s available in their local area.
Our interactive tool takes into account government guidelines and an individual’s personal preferences and circumstances to suggest whether birth in a labour ward, birth centre or at home could be their best fit, helping them to understand the available options.
How Which? Birth Choice can help expectant mothers understand their options
- Our simple interactive tool helps women decide what could be best for them, based on personal preferences and individual circumstances
- We provide detailed information on labour wards and birth centres across the UK, covering everything from the size of the unit to whether or not birth partners can stay overnight
- Statistics are personalised so that women can see how women in similar circumstances to them gave birth in their local units.