The birthplace study : Turning the tide of childbirth
The publication of the Birthplace Study should herald a major shift in the provision and organization of maternity services, in particular the expansion of births outside obstetric units or at home. The media portrayal of the findings were disappointing as the focus was very much on the homebirth findings in relation to first-time mothers and did not promote the unequivocal evidence that delivery in a midwifery-led unit is safe. The adverse outcomes for low-risk women who choose to give birth in an obstetric unit were glossed over as if of limited significance. Based on the findings of the study, maternity service commissioners and providers need to develop a strategy to ensure low-risk women are given informed choice with respect to place of birth and that recourses are available to support this. This study provides us with a really good opportunity to turn the tide of childbirth.