Before you should choose a maternity care you should ask yourself:
o Would you prefer to receive most of your ante and postnatal care at your GP's surgery, and go to the hospital just once or twice during your pregnancy, and then to give birth to your baby in the Consultant Unit? (This is called 'shared care')
If you have a GP Unit at your local maternity hospital, your GP may be able to care for you there when your baby is born or you can be looked after by the hospital midwives.
Some GPs are willing to book you for a home birth and to provide all your maternity care before, during and after the birth of your baby. (However, you don't have to have a GP cover you for a home birth. A midwife has the legal right and practical skills to take sole responsibility for your maternity care provided no complications arise.)
o Would you prefer to receive most of your ante and postnatal care from a small team of midwives whom you can get to know and one of whom will help you give birth? (Most areas are now starting to organise midwives into teams so this should be a real option for you.)
o Would you prefer to receive care from a community midwife who will look after you during your pregnancy, go into hospital with you to help you give birth and then accompany you home with your baby a few hours afterwards?
This is called the Domino scheme. It's not available everywhere; you need to ask your midwife or the Director of Maternity Services at your local Maternity Unit about having this kind of care.
There are increasing numbers of hospital-based schemes running now which arrange for each mother to be cared for by just one midwife. Ask if such a scheme is running at your hospital.
o Would you prefer to receive most of your care from the obstetricians at the local maternity hospital and attend antenatal clinics there whilst receiving postnatal care from the community midwives?
o Would you like to employ an independent midwife to care for you throughout your pregnancy and labour until a few weeks after your baby is born?