Maternity Care Shake-Up
30 September 2017, 11:22
More women could give birth at home or without a doctor present as part of a major shake-up of maternity care to be brought in next year.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said the changes would deliver a "fundamentally different" system of care for mothers-to-be across Scotland.
It could see women only give birth in hospital with a doctor present if they have been identified as having a higher risk of complications.
Others would have their babies either at home or in community hubs, which would be run by midwives and which would not have operating theatres.
Ms Robison told The Herald newspaper: "The new model is a fundamentally different way of delivering maternity services that is focused on individualised, person-centred care and continuity of carer.
"The community hub model will see most midwives working in the community. However there will always be women who require to be in hospital during their pregnancy or after birth and therefore maternity wards will remain."
Five health boards will pilot the changes, with trials taking place in NHS Forth Valley, NHS Highland, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Lothian as well as the Clyde area within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde from next year.
It comes after a two-year review of services published in January found that less than 3% of women give birth either at home or in "freestanding maternity units".
It is expected the community hubs will provide both antenatal and postnatal care, with staff including midwives, obstetricians, and other health professionals.
If complications developed in labour women would be transferred to a hospital obstetric unit to give birth there.