Where to give birth? The choice is yours

Birth choices
Birth choices
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THOUSANDS of pounds have been given to Portsmouth’s maternity unit to develop an app to let women know more about where they can give birth.

The maternity department run by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT), applied to independent charity Health Foundation for funding, which has awarded £75,000.

The money will be used to create a smart phone and tablet application, known as an app, to give information and help on where women can give birth.

Gill Walton, head of midwifery at PHT said: ‘About 28 per cent of pregnant women don’t realise they have a choice until they get here in labour.

‘When women have “normal” births then the outcomes are much better.’

The idea is that if women choose the place they want to give birth, they will be more relaxed and a less likely to need ‘intervention’ – such as a Caesarean, or an epidural.

The app will be developed by midwives and an IT professor.

The trust said it has seen an eight per cent increase this year compared to 2011, of women choosing to give birth in a midwife-led unit.

From January to October this year, 5,309 babies were born in PHT units.

Of these, 72 per cent of births were at the labour ward, in Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, which is consultant-led.

But for low-risk women, four per cent of babies were delivered in the Portsmouth Maternity Centre, in Milton Road, Portsmouth, 18 per cent in the Mary Rose Maternity Centre, in QA, two per cent in the Blake Maternity Centre, Gosport, 1.5 per cent in The Grange Maternity Centre, in Petersfield, and 2.6 per cent at home.

‘We are excited about this because it gives us the opportunity to get information to mums and midwives in a different way,’ added Gill.

‘It’s mums and midwives that make the decision about birth, and everyone seems to have a mobile phone.

‘We’re hoping to embrace this technology to provide information as we’re always thinking how we can make it better for mums and families.’