Doctors are not needed at births, says NHS
Home births and midwife-led units are safest for most women, says NHS advice encouraging a radical shift
Giving birth at home or in a midwife-led unit is safer than the labour ward for most women, according to radical new NHS advice.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said thousands more babies could be born without doctors being present, under new guidance on childbirth.
Currently, more than nine out of ten children in England and Wales are born in obstetric wards, under the care of a consultant. The new recommendations mark a significant change.
Mothers-to-be will be told that unless they have a high risk of complications, it is safer for them to give birth in a small midwife-led unit, than go to a traditional labour ward. And those who are on their second child will be told that a home birth is generally safer than going into hospital.
The encouragement for births outside the labour ward marks a major change in NHS guidance, which was previously far more cautious.
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