There are several studies within the Birthplace programme, including:
A mapping maternity care study - which examines the configuration of
maternity care in England and how maternity services in 2010 had changed
and developed since the Healthcare Commission's Maternity Service Review,
was carried out in 2007.
A national prospective cohort study – which investigates the effects of
planned place of birth at the start of labour care for healthy ('low-risk')
women focuses on outcomes related to safety for the baby and the mother,
obstetric interventions experienced and the likelihood of experiencing
positive outcomes including a 'normal birth' (where labour starts spontaneously, there is no use of epidural and the baby is born without assistance of episiotomy, ventouse, forceps or caesarean) and breastfeeding initiation.
The four planned places for birth are:
• freestanding midwifery units (FMUs),
• alongside midwifery units (AMUs), and
• obstetric units (OUs). 1
A cost-effectiveness analysis – which looks at the costs of care
planned in the four different places and these are related to the health
and wellbeing outcomes in the cohort study, and the likelihood of receiving
one-to-one midwifery care.
Qualitative research on the organisation of care in four case studies
- this study looks at how maternity services are organised and how they
function in four different NHS trusts, selected from the group that the
Healthcare Commission regarded as being 'top performing'. In each case
study the geography of the area, the population and the places offered
for birth are different. The study investigates access to choice of place
of birth, women's experiences, management of care, and workforce issues.
There have also been two ‘adjunct’ studies as part of the Birthplace
programme. A mixed-methods study - on women’s experiences of
transferring to the hospital labour ward for care during labour and a
qualitative study of women’s experiences of home birth.
1. Birthplace in England Collaborative Group. Perinatal and maternal
outcomes by planned place of birth for healthy women with low risk
pregnancies: the Birthplace in England national prospective cohort study.