The Your Birthing Choices engagement exercise was undertaken to understand what was important to women & birthing people, birthing partners and support people when choosing where to give birth.
The questionnaire was open between June and July and 1,133 responses were received.
An Alongside Midwifery-Led unit is your preferred place to give birth
Participants were presented with four birthing locations and asked to rank in order of preference which one they would prefer to give birth at. An Alongside Midwifery-Led Unit came out top, a Hospital Maternity Unit was second, a Standalone Midwifery-Led unit third and a Home Birth was ranked last.
85.6% of participants also said that if they were able, they would choose to give birth at an Alongside Midwifery-Led Unit, describing this as the safer and more ideal option as it is close to specialist care if complications arise, yet more relaxed and less clinical than a hospital birth.
Overall, you would prefer to not give birth at home
72.3% of participants said that they would not choose to give birth at home, with the biggest concerns being around safety should any complications arise during labour.
27.7% of respondents however, would choose to birth at home saying they feel more comfortable at home and it's a much more family centered experience.
Standalone Midwifery-Led Units are not your preferred place to give birth at
55.3% of participants said that they would not choose to give birth at a Standalone Midwifery-Led unit, with the biggest concerns relating to safety and the risks associated with not being being on a near a hospital site.
However, 44.7% of respondents said that they would choose to birth at a Standalone Midwifery-Led Unit as it is an excellent alternative for women and birthing people wanting a non-clinical birthing experience.
There are other factors that would influence your decision on where to give birth
Participants were provided with a long list of statements and asked to rank the top five most important to them that would influence their decision on where to give birth:
1 - Facilities for birthing partners to stay in the same room
2 - Access to neonatal care
3 - Access to an operating theatre
4 - Access to a birthing pool
5 - Close to specialist care
Not having neonatal care on the same site would influence where you choose to give birth
70.5% of participants said that if there was no neonatal unit available on site, this would potentially influence where they would choose to birth at. The main reasons provided said that they would prefer to have the peace of mind that care neonatal was instantly accessible in an emergency situation.
However, others felt this was not a concern so long as they had experienced a normal pregnancy and a neonatal unit was within a reasonable distance.
Your biggest concern when considering a midwife-led birth is the risk to yourself and your baby if complications arise during labour.
Your biggest concern when considering giving birth in a hospital/labour ward is that partners are unable to stay overnight
Next we will:
Reflect and learn from this engagement exercise and use that learning to inform our engagement approach with this group of stakeholders as we progress to formal public consultation, ensuring we are able to talk to more of our population and hard to reach communities.
Use the feedback captured during this engagement to inform the evaluation of potential clinical models for maternity and neonatal services.
Listen to more parents and birthing people from health inclusion groups, groups with protected characteristics and from areas of high deprivation about their experiences of accessing maternity or neonatal services, how they feel any future potential changes may impact them and listen to any ideas they have on how services could be improved in the future.
Across the Humber, Coast and Vale area the NHS and local partners are looking at ways to improve healthcare in our region and we want your input to help us make the best changes for you and your family.
We want to understand what is important to you when choosing where to give birth so we can develop maternity and neonatal services for the future with you in mind.
The animation below shows what birthing choices are currently available in the Humber, Coast and Vale area.
For more information on how your local maternity services can support you, please visit the Humber, Coast and Vale Local Maternity System’s website: https://www.humbercoastandvalematernity.org.uk/