Ethical aspects of current challenges to women's choice of planned place of birth

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Abstract

Women have to face a myriad of choices on which to make informed decisions during the childbearing continuum. Planned place of birth is of particular importance to them and their families in providing a positive birthing experience. This experience will influence future planned pregnancies and have an impact on their beliefs in the normality of labour and birth and enhance outcomes in terms of breastfeeding uptake and continuity (Sandall 2008). A challenge to ethical practice is the proposed threat to midwifery supervision, an activity that safeguards women and midwives. This paper examines the ethical implications, such as autonomy, of choosing place of birth from available choices, specifically midwifery-led care, and how these decisions can impact women's birth experience. The discussion draws on the four principles of biomedical ethics (Beauchamp & Childress 2013) and the newNursing and Midwifery Council Code (NMC 2015).

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