Better births, choice and personalisation
Better Births (2016), the national maternity review, recognised that every woman, every pregnancy, every baby and every family is different.
Better Births provides the blueprint for maternity transformation, which is driven locally by the Local Maternity System. We are transforming maternity services to enable every woman to have access to information to enable her to make decisions about her care, and where she and her baby can access support that is centred around their individual needs and circumstances.
All women are able to choose the provider of their antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care, and should be able to make decisions about their care during pregnancy, during birth and after their baby’s birth, through an ongoing dialogue with professionals that empowers them.
Choices available to all woman include the place of birth (i.e. homebirth; in a midwifery unit; or in an obstetric unit in hospital) even if it means crossing traditional boundaries.
Choice begins as soon as a woman makes initial contact with maternity services and continues throughout her journey. When a woman makes contact with maternity services, her midwife begins the dialogue with the woman and she should expect to have sufficient time and knowledge to discuss her options. She may need to make some initial decisions about the antenatal care she wants, and as her antenatal care progresses, possibly due to changing circumstances, she will need to discuss these decisions and make further decisions, including about care in labour and in the postnatal period.
Therefore, quality services (by which we mean safe, clinically effective and providing a good experience) must be personalised.
WY&H Local Maternity System aims to ensure that we can offer woman and their families a range of providers, offering a range of models of care that are safe and sustainable.
Working together as one system, the focus of our work is to:
- provide women and their families with the tools and support available to help them make and give effect to informed decisions about their care
- ensure women and their families are able to choose from a variety of birth settings including home, midwifery units and hospitals
- provide women and their families with the opportunity to develop a personalised care plan for their journey into pregnancy and parenthood
- offer women continuity of carer during their pregnancy, birth and postnatal care to ensure safe care based on a relationship of mutual trust and respect in line with the woman’s decision.
Every woman and family is different with individual needs. Therefore, it is important to be involved in the choices and decisions for your care throughout each stage of your maternity journey. My personalised care plan helps you to explore, discuss and record your individual choices for pregnancy, birth and the first few weeks of parenthood. These are available to download here: LMNS: My personalised care plan (online updated Dec 2023) or as an alternative printable format LMS: My personalised care plan single pages printable.
Together we have co-produced with local women a booklet entitled My Journey through maternity (updated Dec 2023) care to inform the women we care for and their families about the choices of place of birth available to them in West Yorkshire & Harrogate. The booklet is now available as a digital tool My Pregnancy Journey that can be accessed on a variety of platforms, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. It includes a BrowseAloud function and a Personalised Care Planning facility – for women to record their needs and choices.
The booklet is available in an easier to read version and British Sign Language (see below).
You can find out more about the Partnership Personalised Care programme here: https://
Another tool to assist women and their families in considering their choices for where to birth, can be accessed here: