What information do women need when choosing where to give birth?

Current guidelines support offering ‘low risk’ women a choice of birth setting, including a midwifery unit, at home, or in a hospital labour ward or obstetric unit.  But how do women choose between these options and what information do they receive and need in order to make a choice?

As part of the Birthplace Choices project, a team of researchers led from the NPEU by Jennifer Hollowell and  Rachel Rowe, and also including Lisa Hinton from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, carried out a focus group study using an innovative online approach with a national sample of pregnant women to explore their choices.

Women in our study drew on multiple sources of information when choosing where to give birth; their midwife was not their primary source of information.  Women wanted to be able to know what their options were early in pregnancy and to be able to consider, explore and discuss these with their midwife throughout their pregnancy, not at a fixed point in time. 

You can read the paper which is published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth.