More than 95 per cent of women in the UK are not able to choose where to give birth ...
The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) ... claims that some 95.8 per cent of women do not yet have access to a real choice between the three options of home birth with a midwife, a local midwifery facility or birth centre and an obstetric unit in a hospital.
These are the three choices defined in the 2007 Government report Maternity Matters, which guaranteed that women in England would have choice of place of birth by 2009.
Sarah Banks ... who is mother to a 10-month-old girl, said she was given no choice when it came to childbirth ... 'The first thing the midwife asked me was 'which hospital do you want to go to?'
'There was no discussion about other options and no mention of the birth centre nearby.
'I told her that I wanted to have my baby at home and she refused to discuss it as she said it was too early and wouldn't be advisable as it was my first baby.'
... "across the UK, Government policies support women with this choice. However, in reality this is not even close to being delivered yet.
'We want the governments to act now ... 'We know there are some financial policy obstacles hindering the achievement of choice the NHS could make much faster progress if it corrected these.
NCT believes that ... women who are given the choice have an increased likelihood of straightforward births, while for the maternity services, increased choice is likely to lead to reduced costs, as currently most women give birth in an obstetric unit in a hospital, which is an expensive option ...