What women want: Exploring pregnant women's preferences for alternative models of maternity care

Christopher Godfrey Fawsitt*, Jane Bourke, Jennifer E. Lutomski, Sarah Meaney, Brendan McElroy, Rosemary Murphy, Richard Anthony Greene

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
350 Downloads (Pure)


Depending on obstetric risk, maternity care may be provided in one of two locations at hospital level: a consultant-led unit (CLU) or a midwifery-led unit (MLU). Care in a MLU is sparsely provided in Ireland, comprising as few as two units out of a total 21 maternity units. Given its potential for greater efficiencies of care and cost-savings for the state, there has been an increased interest to expand MLUs in Ireland. Yet, very little is known about women's preferences for midwifery-led care, and whether they would utilise this service when presented with the choice of delivering in a CLU or MLU. This study seeks to involve women in the future planning of maternity care by investigating their preferences for care and subsequent motivations when choosing place of birth. Qualitative research is undertaken to explore maternal preferences for these different models of care. Women only revealed a preference for the MLU when co-located with a CLU due to its close proximity to medical services. However, the results suggest women do not have a clear preference for either model of care, but rather a hybrid model of care which encompasses features of both consultant- and midwifery-led care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number1
Early online date8 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Consultant-led unit
  • Midwifery-led unit
  • Thematic analysis


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