NHS Long Term Plan to give mums the ‘Royal Treatment’, as 14,000 choose home birth

Almost 14,000 families have opted for a home birth in a single year, which might include the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as mothers-to-be are offered greater choice over the care they receive thanks to the NHS Long Term Plan.

If Baby Sussex is born in the familiar surroundings of home, they will be among the one in 50 babies delivered in a home birth in England.

Just as the Duchess will choose the option that best ‘Suits’ her, mums-to-be now have more choice than ever when planning to give birth, with home births, midwifery units and hospital wards all on the list of options.

The surroundings of a royal estate is out of reach for most people, but home can still make for a relaxing place to give birth, with a familiar midwife assisting all the way. This option is particularly popular for women who have already had their first child.

Other NHS options available to mums for free on the NHS include a local midwifery unit, designed to feel more like home than a hospital, where teams of midwives are on hand to help during labour.

Or finally, women can choose to give birth at a hospital, with midwives providing the majority of care, supported by doctors, anaesthetists and other professionals for if mum or baby needs extra support or pain relief.

An estimated 1,750 babies in England and Wales are expected to share their birthday with the new royal, and are arriving at a time when maternity services are safer than ever.

Harry and Meghan might be rolling out the red carpet for their little heir, but all women can expect the royal treatment from the NHS, with almost nine in 10 women feeling that they were treated with dignity and respect throughout their labour.

The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January, promises continued improvement in choice and safety in maternity services over the next ten years.

And improvements won’t stop there, as local hospitals and health will work with Maternity Voices Partnerships to make sure women’s experiences of giving birth help services better meet the particular needs of the communities they serve.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: “Expectant mums now have more choice and say over the care they receive than ever before, and thanks to clinical advances and the hard work of midwives and other staff, NHS maternity services have never been safer.

“As we implement the NHS Long Term Plan, midwives and their colleagues across the country will get the support they need to provide the best possible start in life for every child, and give every mum the royal treatment.”