Nearly 40 per cent of mothers using private midwifery service One to One Care in the Wirral had home deliveries last year compared to the national average of just three per cent of women opting for home births.

NHS Wirral Primary Care Trust has recently begun working with One to One Northwest who reported that 17 of the 48 babies they've delivered over the first two months were at home.

One to One's Clinical Director Joanne Parkington said: "We always knew that there were a lot of mums who, supported to make the choice, would love the idea of having a baby delivered at home in their own surroundings and with their family close by.

"Obviously, there are times when a mother is advised to have a hospital birth, but for the majority of mothers, who are low risk, a home birth is just as appropriate as a hospital one."

The One to One service is being delivered by a team of experienced midwives who aim for all women to have received an initial risk assessment and booking by 10 weeks of pregnancy and follow up care is then provided on an individual needs-assessed basis.

A spokesperson for NHS Wirral commented on the situation for the area as whole: "NHS Wirral is pleased to be able to offer women in Wirral a choice in how and where they would like their midwifery care to be delivered.   

"One to One Northwest provides an opportunity for midwives to offer a different style of care from hospital based maternity units, free at the point of delivery. They have been contracted to deliver a complete package of midwifery care including home births. This has resulted in a rise in the number of home births, which was one of the original aims of the pilot. 

"The figures that have been released on home births by One to One are relevant to mothers who are under One to One's care and not for the whole of Wirral. One to One currently provides services for ten per cent of all expectant mothers in Wirral and the overall figure for home births across the borough is in line with the two per cent national average. 

"NHS Wirral continues to contract with local hospital based maternity services providers (Wirral Hospital's Trust, Liverpool Women's Hospital, Countess of Chester Hospital). Therefore, women are free to choose the type of service and location of birth which they feel best meets their needs."