NCT believes that the environment in which a woman gives birth is very important. Our Creating a Better Birth Environment audit toolkit plus our consultancy service can jumpstart your unit to obtaining a birth environment which protects normal birth.

NCT Better Birth Environment Audit Toolkit and Consultancy Service

How NCT can help create the right birth environment

NCT believes all women should have a birth which gives them confidence and provides the best possible start to their journey into motherhood. That’s why NCT works closely with hospitals and birth centres to offer a unique consultancy service designed to ensure women have the best possible environment in which to give birth.

Why birthing environments are important

The right birth environment is being increasingly recognised for the important role it plays in a woman’s chances of having a normal birth. There is now clear evidence, supported by NICE Intrapartum Guidelines (2007), which reinforces the need for birth environments which support a woman’s sense of control and increase her comfort.

‘The setting of birth is immensely powerful and can be the difference between a fulfilling or traumatic childbirth experience’

Evidence-based Care for Normal Labour and Birth by Denis Walsh

The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement Toolkit promoting normal birth and reducing the Caesarean Section Rate, the work of midwives Denis Walsh and Mavis Kirkham and the recent increase in the numbers of Midwifery Led Units being built, highlight the importance of a homely birth environment and the impact it can have on keeping labour and birth normal. 

Why work with NCT consultancy service?

NCT Better Birth Environment consultancy aims to offer those providing Maternity Services with an opportunity to: 

  • Review the environment in which their local women labour and give birth    
  • Celebrate any recent improvements to the birthing environment  
  • Identify areas for future development and improvement
  • Engage local women and staff in the consultancy process
  • Identify ways in which to advertise the facilities on offer through virtual tours etc.

The consultancy service is run by Gillian Fletcher, MBE, who is both the former president of NCT and senior tutor. Gillian runs the VOICES workshops, training for MSLCs, and offers a range of birth environment audits/consultations for your units. She can run focus groups of your users and staff as part of a full unit audit. From the audit, she will make recommendations for three phases:  

  1. Phase one would be immediate and low cost changes which could be implemented immediately and easily
  2. Phase two would be non-structural changes that would take more time to acquire  but could also be instated without the use of estates planning
  3. Phase three would be recommendations for structural changes which could be factored into longer-term unit planning.

The typical process including audit, focus groups with a full three phase report and consultation briefing will be approximately 3 days.  

The birthing environment consultancy service costs approximately £750/day plus expenses.  

Note the NCT’s popular Creating a Better Birth Environment is available as a free downloadable file from this page.  If you would like to be notified about the availability of an updated copy or emailed a copy, please email

For more information about NCT Better Birthing Environment consultancy service contact NCT Professional Healthcare Services at


Visit our campaigns page for more information on our Better Birth Environment Campaign