nhfThe National Health Foundation has committed £75,000 to create a mobile app to help women choose where to give birth.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust are to design the app which was first proposed after the Birthplace Study revealed home births or birthing centres were just as safe for women with "low risk" pregnancies.

The app will be put into practice across Portsmouth over the next 15 months and, if successful, it will be rolled out nationally.

Gill Walton, head of midwifery in Portsmouth, said: "If you have a baby in a labour ward, you are more likely to have an intervention like a forceps delivery or caesarean.

"Birth can be kept a lot more normal in a birthing centre or at home."

Birthplace compared the safety of 65,000 "low risk" births throughout England planned in different settings at home, in hospital and at midwife-led units and concluded the differences in outcome were minimal for existing mothers.

However researchers from the University of Oxford also concluded that a home birth carries a higher risk for the babies of first time mothers.

Complication rates, including stillbirth or other problems affecting the baby, were 5.3 per 1,000 births in hospital compared with 9.3 per 1,000 for home births.

Dr Jane Jones, Assistant Director at the Health Foundation, concluded: "Innovative approaches are required to tackle the challenges that we are facing in healthcare today. The Portsmouth Hospitals project team will have the challenge of demonstrating the practicality of their idea with the potential to have high impact when scaled up across the UK."

Posted 28/01/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com