Local maternity wards top the list of pregnant womens’ priorities
Pregnant women list the proximity of their local hospital or birthing centre as their top priority in their birth experience, according to a survey.A quarter of British mothers listed the location of the birthing unit as their top priority when asked to identify the most important thing about their experience of giving birth.
The importance of the proximity to the hospital increased as women prepared to give birth to second (26 per cent) and third (30 per cent) children.
But while women see local maternity care as their top priority, the NHS is considering closing maternity units across the country in order to cut costs. A report published last year by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommended merging services into super-units.
Also high on the list of priorities for first-time mothers were: having a private room (14 per cent); access to a birthing pool (10 per cent); and having space for a partner stay overnight (nine per cent). As women prepared to give birth to second or third children, pools and partners, in particular, dropped in popularity, with only five per cent of women listing pools as a priority, and only four per cent citing an over-night stay by their partner as a key consideration.
While issues of comfort and personal, home-from-home care scored highest in the priorities of the women polled, a third of women said their top concerns were around the act of giving birth.
Fourteen per cent said their top priority was to have midwife-led care, whereas just 5 per cent of women polled said it was most important to them to have doctor led care. Another 11 per cent of women said that giving birth in a hospital with a good neonatal ward was their top priority.
“The fact that women want greater choice when it comes to giving birth is of little surprise; through our More Midwives campaign, WI members have been telling us that being able to make a choice about where and how they give birth is one of their greatest hopes,” said Ruth Bond, Chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes.
“Despite welcome commitments from the Government to overhaul maternity services, the number of midwives is not keeping pace with the ongoing the baby boom; this translates into fewer choices for women, and ultimately, an unsustainable strain on the system,” said Ms Bond.
The desire for midwife-led care comes days after the Royal College of Midwives gave warning that an extra 5,000 midwives were needed in England alone to deal with the highest birth rate in 40 years.
The poll, conducted by Bounty in conjunction with Ipsos/MORI, surveyed nearly 900 new mothers across Britain, exclusively for Telegraph Wonder Women.
Tags: Health Professionals, maternity, nhs cash shortages, nhs cutbacks, Patients' Association, pregnancy