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Majority of women not getting birth choice

27th October 2009

A report by the National Childbirth Trust has found that most women in the UK are not able to fully choose the options for how they give birth.

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The report, called Location, location, location, detailed the accessibility of obstetric units, birthing centres and home births and calculated the percentage of women in each area who could choose from all three.

They found that 95.8% of women were not given all three options - giving birth at home, at a birth centre or in hospital - although these choices were described in the NHS Maternity Matters document.

The report also said that nearly 9 out of ten women (89%) lived in locations which did not "realistically" provide the option of giving birth at home with a midwife present.

Over one third of women (40%) lived in areas without "reasonable access" to a birthing centre and a maternity unit at a hospital.

The NCT called for the full implementation of birth options by the Department of Health and the government.

Belinda Phipps, chief executive, NCT, said: "There is a huge task ahead for trusts and boards as many are very behind in implementing this policy. For every ten pregnant women, nine are not able to choose where they want to give birth."

"We know across the UK, government policies support women with this choice. However, in reality this is not even close to being delivered yet."

 

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Comments

Pauline Hull

Wednesday 28th October 2009 @ 13:50

Unfortunately, the NCT is actually focusing on choice in terms of WHERE a woman gives birth and not HOW she gives birth. There are more women in the UK who would like to choose a cesarean delivery than there are women who would like to choose homebirth, and yet the NCT focuses on the needs of the latter only. This is not true childbirth autonomy, and this fact needs to be recognised and addressed.


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