I recently became aware of a fantastic new website that I wanted to share with you: Birth Choice.
It is a UK-based site that assists women to find the best place for their birth. You can put in selections according to your preferences and needs, and after answering a few questions, it recommends the birth places that are best suited to your needs and wishes. It's brilliant!
In the UK, it seems there is a big focus on the place of birth because the place of birth usually determines the birth outcome in terms of interventions in birth and available models of care.
In Australia, however, our birth outcomes depend less on the place of birth, and more on the care provider. Probably the only exception (to date) is private hospitals, where currently the only available model of care is private obstetric care. However, birthing in a pubic hospital does open up many birth options for women including standard hospital care, private obstetric care, private midwifery care, team midwifery, birth centre (in selected hospitals) and midwifery group practice. With so many options, the actual place of birth is less important than the choice of model.
We have some excellent research to support the notion that the important factor is the choice of care provider, rather than the place of birth. A brand new study has explored birth outcomes within public hospitals according to choice of care provider: private obstetrician, standard hospital care and midwifery group practice. By and large, there were differences in intervention rates according to the model of care that was chosen. This demonstrates that even within a certain birth place, the model of care that is chosen will often determine the outcome for the woman and her baby.