A programme to give expectant mothers across Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth a broader choice over their care has now helped more than 3,800 women.
The Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneer programme was first introduced in the area last year in a handful of GP surgeries in Bordon, Wickham and Hedge End and has now been rolled out across the counties.
Its aim is to ensure that from the moment that a woman’s pregnancy is confirmed she receives all the information available for her to be able to take the right decisions to suit her own needs and circumstances. This includes where she receives her antenatal care and where and how she gives birth, taking into account her personal and medical needs.
Midwives working across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and parts of Southampton were chosen to be one of seven such schemes nationwide, developed after national surveys revealed some new mothers had not been fully aware of the options available to them as far as childbirth is concerned.
Dr Lesley Ayling, GP Commissioning Lead for the Hampshire Programme, said: “Pregnancy and childbirth are special times in a woman’s life and we want to make sure that all expectant mothers across the area are given choice in the way they are supported through this journey.
“By making more options available and making women aware of these options, women can be assured that they are making well informed decisions on their care.
“We’re delighted that so many women are now benefiting from the improved information available, and they can be more confident that they are doing what’s right for them, their babies and their family.”
As part of the programme all pregnant women receive increased information on where to access antenatal care and where they can birth their baby; the midwife can help the woman understand what choices are available which will be safe and evidence based and taking into account the woman’s personal needs and circumstances.
The information to support women’s choices is available in booklet format and online. Both the booklet and the online information were developed with women using maternity services.
Women are also advised on what services are available in specific locations and can chose to have appointments in different places to fit in with their lifestyle, personal preference or clinical need.