Can a workshop increase pregnant women's knowledge of their birthplace options?
Research shows that women consistently report a lack of adequate, unbiased information about their birthplace choices.
One midwfery unit aimed to address the issue by creating a workshop to disseminate the findings of
Standards were set at 70% of suitable women being booked to attend. It was aimed that 100% of those women would actually attend, and that 100% would report receiving appropriate and sufficient information.
Overall, 45.7% of eligible women were booked to attend and 77.7% of those booked did attend. All women who attended reported having received adequate information. The number of birth centre births in the area rose by 31.3% after the implementation of the workshop.
Although attendance could be improved, the authors were confident that the workshop is a positive step in increasing women's knowledge of their birthplace options. Local initiatives must be commended; however, strategies must be implemented on a national level to alter the status quo of hospital births as the safest option for all women.
Planning where to give birth is arguably one of the most significant choices that a woman will make during her pregnancy. Yet for many women, an assumption is made that birth will take place in a hospital setting. Maternity care in Britain has changed significantly throughout the years: in 1960, just over 60% of births took place in a hospital setting, while this figure rose to 96% by 1990 (Johanson et al, 2002).
The Peel Report (Standing Maternity and Midwifery Advisory Committee, 1970), which recommended that the safest place for women to give birth was in consultant-led maternity units, resulted in the majority of births taking place in these settings. Recent figures show that only 13% of births take place outside of hospital units (National Audit Office (NAO), 2013). The publication of the birthplace study by Brocklehurst et al (2011) challenged the assumption that hospital was the safest place for mother and baby. The findings endorsed a policy of choice that has been in place since 1993 when Changing Childbirth was first published (Department of Health, 1993).
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