NICE: Mothers 'Better Off Giving Birth At Home Or Specialist Birth Centres'

Women With Normal Pregnancies Advised Against Hospital Labours


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463
Expectant mothers are now advised to give birth at home or in midwife-led centres rather than in hospitals, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) has said.

Women who have had straightforward pregnancies without any complications are safer when cared for by midwives in specialist birth centres or their own homes, according to the advisory body.

Meanwhile, the 90% of women who give birth in hospital labour wards experience a higher rate of specialist interventions, such as birth by forceps, caesarean section or episiotomy.

Nice said it found suggestions that busy doctors sometimes try to speed up slow labours unnecessarily, in situations where a midwife would have more time to deal with it properly.

"We hope that commissioners will start to plan their midwifery and obstetric services in line with our guidance, a shift away from hospitals and towards midwifery-led care," said Nice's clinical practice director Mark Baker.

The guidelines also recommend one-to-one care for all women in labour, a measure Nice says would lead to better job satisfaction and retention of staff.

Expert Opinion
It is vital expectant mothers are given all of the information they require to make a choice about where they want to give birth, which may see them use hospitals or could result in the choice of specialist birth centres.

“All too often we have seen the devastating impact failures during the birthing process can have on newborn children, their parents and their family. We welcome the increased level of one-to-one care outlined by Nice, but the first priority, not matter where a mother chooses to give birth, should be the safety of her and her baby.”
Julianne Moore, Partner