The prospect of giving birth can be daunting, so it’s crucial for parents-to-be to know that they have chosen the best place in which to do it. Which? Birth Choice is now available to help expectant mothers decide what type of birth they would like and explore local options.
New Which? research has found that three-quarters of midwives say women would benefit from more information to help with choosing where to give birth. A third of mothers said they knew nothing or not much about the amount of choice they had about where to give birth and half said the same about the different types of maternity units available to them*.
With the majority of women having a choice over where to have their baby – for example between giving birth in a hospital, midwife-led birth centre or at home – it’s vital they can compare the options available to them.
The new free-to-use Which? Birth Choice site – created in partnership with BirthChoiceUK and supported by the Royal College of Midwives – gives expectant mothers all the information they need to know in one place so they can plan the birth they want. It brings together all the facts about local maternity services and provides women with personalised results based on their preferences.
Parents-to-be can also visit our baby and parenting hub for advice on a huge range of baby products and services, from choosing the safest child car seat to saving for your family.
Choosing where to give birth
Which? head of public services policy Sonia Sodha said: ‘Choosing where to give birth is a deeply personal and extremely important decision so it is vital that expectant parents get as much information as possible to help them with this choice.
‘But our research has shown many women aren’t aware of all their options. Which? Birth Choice will provide women with personalised results based on their preferences and individual circumstances to help them decide where to have their baby.’
Royal College of Midwives chief executive Cathy Warwick said: ‘Women should be able to make the choice of where they give birth based on the best possible information. This website, along with discussions with their midwife, will go a long way towards helping them make an informed choice and to decide what is the best place for them to give birth.’
Understanding your birth choices
Which? Birth Choice allows parents-to-be to search for local options for where to give birth that fit their specific needs and preferences.
It will show expectant mums the most suitable local options based on their age, whether or not they are a first-time mum and whether or not they have any conditions that may put them at increased risk of complications. They are then able to compare services in detail based on information provided by the Heads of Midwifery, including information on the different pain relief available, whether there is access to a birthing pool, facilities for partners to stay overnight, and the cost of private rooms.
The new site also explains the types of pain relief available, who would be present at the birth, the safety implications and the medical interventions available, depending on the birth environment. And we answer questions around coping with pain in labour, maternity care and feeding your baby.
Visit Which? Birth Choice now to find the best place for you to give birth, or to check what facilities are available at the place you have already chosen.
*Survey of 303 mothers and 101 midwives carried out by Populus, on behalf of Which? in July 2013.