MIDWIFE-led care is the way forward for maternity services in Huddersfield, it emerged today.
Hundreds of women across Kirklees and Calderdale were asked to express their views about services earlier this year.
The move was part of a major healthcare review being carried out to reshape the future of health in Huddersfield.
More continuity, better choice and improved care closer to home were some of the areas highlighted by women.
The feedback will help form a series of proposals to be launched for public consultation next week.
Martin DeBono, clinical director of women's services for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, said: "It was an exercise we undertook to look at which services can be done in hospitals or in the community.
"We involved various patient groups to give them the opportunity to shape services and comment on what is currently available."
"It has been an eye-opener."
He said the sessions highlighted the need to offer pregnant women more choice and greater continuity of care.
He said: "We need to reconfigure our community and hospital services to give women more choice.
"At the moment, it is patchy.
"We want to support midwife-led care.
"Women should only need to be obstetric-led if they fall into the high-risk category with medical complications."
He believed better access to health services in deprived areas was also vital in reducing the number of babies who die in the womb or in the first week of life.
He said: "The rate here is 60% higher than the national average.
"There must be a reason for that.
"We need to channel our resources to those areas that require it."
And by strengthening the link between patients and their midwives, it was hoped the rate of home births would increase and the number of caesarean sections would fall.
He added: "There is a need to respond to a change in practice."