A new scheme has been launched to give pregnant women across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight more choice on antenatal care and childbirth.
Midwives working with GP surgeries in Bordon have been chosen to be the first area locally to pilot the Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneer programme – one of seven schemes nationwide.
The project aims to increase the knowledge and choices available to pregnant women, increasing the range of options available to them around antenatal care and place of birth, allowing them to make an informed choice as to where they receive their antenatal care and ensuring that where and how they give birth that is the best fit for their personal circumstances – provided they do not have a diagnosed medical condition which could pose a risk and will therefore require a greater level of clinical care.
The programme will provide access to relevant information and a named midwife to help mothers-to-be to make choices that are the best fit for their personal circumstances. Women who have medical conditions that increase the risk for mother or baby will continue to be offered a greater level of clinical care through the established obstetric services and will be encouraged to give birth in an obstetric unit if this is in the best interests of the mother and baby.
More pilot sites are due to follow shortly and after they have been evaluated the programme will be rolled out across the whole of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Dr Lesley Ayling, GP Commissioning Lead for the Hampshire Programme, said: “We want to ensure that every woman’s experience of pregnancy and childbirth is as good as it can be and this programme will help us to do that by increasing the choices available.
“Every woman will have different preferences, so it is important that we can give each expectant mother a clear understanding of the different appropriate options available so she can be confident and well informed around choosing what works best for her and her baby.
“Fortunately in Hampshire we are already able to provide mothers-to-be with a good variety of choices but we aim to do even better.”
National surveys of new mothers revealed that few of them had been fully aware of all of the options available to them as far as childbirth was concerned. The Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneers programme was developed by NHS England to test ways of improving choice for women accessing maternity services.
Ria Haydon, a midwife from Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, one of the three midwives taking part in the initial pilot in Bordon, said: “Being able to offer women a variety of choice is so important, that’s why I feel this pilot will benefit the women in the Bordon area, highlighting the choices that are available to them.”
The local pilots schemes are due to run for 18 months.