Thursday, 7th February 2013
Commenting on births figures published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “To see the number of women giving birth at home continuing to fall however small the drop is very disappointing. This flies in the face of the government’s commitment to bring services closer to home and to offer women choice about where they give birth.
“Many women without complications in their pregnancy could give birth at home and we need to see maternity services recognising this and putting resources into making it happen. There are many examples across the UK where it is being done very successfully, if the will is there and the midwives have the support of the people holding the purse strings.
“Improving the home birth service will deliver greater choice and satisfaction for women, and will also be a more effective use of resources, keeping women out of hospital where they are more likely to experience interventions such as caesarean sections.
“The drop since the late 1950s is staggering and we need to see that trend reversed and start moving back towards the home birth numbers seen then. The Call the Midwife drama - set in that period - has shown us a model of community based midwifery care that we should be looking to emulate in a modern context.
“The increase in the number of multiple maternities especially among older women also has significant implications. This places greater demands on maternity services and we should be ensuring that there are enough midwives so that these women get the best possible care.”
For further information please contact the RCM Press Office on 020 7312 3456, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ONS birth statistics can be found at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/characteristics-of-birth-2--england-and-wales/2011/sb-characteristics-of-birth-2.html.
Notes to editors
The Royal College of Midwives is the voice of midwifery. We are the UK’s only trade union and professional organisation led by midwives for midwives. The vast majority of the midwifery profession are our members. The RCM promotes midwifery, quality maternity services and professional standards. We support and represent our members individually and collectively in all four UK countries. We influence on behalf of our members and for the interests of the women and families for which they care.