Expectant parents are being made aware of their right to choose the birth hospital for their new arrival.
More than 1,000 women who had given birth in England in the last three years were surveyed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), who found that 40% either weren’t aware or didn’t feel they had a choice about their birth hospital.
Heidi Smoult, CQC deputy chief inspector, said: “Pregnancy is a very exciting time but it can also be daunting and many women can feel at their most vulnerable. Women may have the option to have a hospital, birthing centre or home birth.
“It’s essential that all women are fully informed about the options they have regarding their choices over where they give birth.”
Molly, 23, from Penistone, has shared her story to support the CQC’s campaign to raise awareness of options available to parents.
She said: “I would definitely recommend looking at the CQC reports to help you prepare for your baby. Bringing a baby into your life is one of the biggest decisions that you’re ever going to make so being informed and having all the knowledge and information available really did make a difference to me.”
Molly said she wasn’t aware of options other than Barnsley Hospital which was offered by her midwife, but had heard good things about Huddersfield.
She said it was only three weeks before her due date that she heard about the CQC and right to choose.
She added: “In the end I gave birth in Oldham as Harper decided to come early – while we were at a friend’s wedding! But after that I looked at the CQC inspection reports for that hospital and I found them quite reassuring.”
Each inspection answers five key questions: Is the service safe? Is it effective? Are the staff caring and responsive to people’s needs and is the service well led?
As part of the campaign the CQC also wants new parents to share their experiences of maternity services. For more information about the CQC’s campaign.
For more information about the CQC’s campaign and to find out how to share your experiences please visit www.cqc.org.uk/yourbirthplan