The interactive Where to give birth 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.
Results are only an indication of a birth setting that is suitable based on the details you submit to the tool. 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.
The RCOG says, 'Maternity units everywhere are working around the clock right now to manage additional pressures and facilitate women's choices.'
Although, like all areas of the NHS, maternity services are being affected by the pandemic, it says maternity units are working to ensure services are provided in a way that is safe, with the necessary staffing levels and the ability to provide emergency care where necessary.
In some areas of the UK, Trusts and Boards had to pause their home birth service or close their midwife-led unit but most of these cases have now been reinstated. You will be told if this is not the case.
Pregnant women with suspected or confirmed coronavirus are being advised to give birth in a hospital obstetric unit for the safety of both mum and baby, even if they had been planning delivery at home or in a midwife-led centre.
This is so that the baby can be monitored using continuous electronic foetal monitoring, and your oxygen levels, temperature and respiratory rate can be monitored, too.
This kind of monitoring can only take place in an obstetric unit where doctors and midwives are both present.
It is also reported that women with symptomatic COVID-19 have an increased risk of caesarean birth, making it even more important that they give birth in an obstetric unit where prompt access to emergency care is available.
The RCOG says that women's birth plans should be followed as closely as possible and advises checking with your local maternity team as to what birthing options are available.
If you have chosen private antenatal care and to give birth in a private facility, contact them directly to see how coronavirus will impact you.