Aim: To explore the level of information about possible venues for childbirth among pregnant women, and to establish the midwives' involvement in giving information and helping women to make choices about where they want to give birth.
Design: Qualitative study using tape-recorded unstructured interviews.
Setting: The South East of England.
Participants: 33 pregnant women; 20 planning a hospital birth and 13 planning a home birth recruited between 32 and 42 weeks of pregnancy.
Findings: Women planning a home birth were well informed about the options available to them, while the majority of those planning a hospital birth were less informed about the availability of home birth and assumed that the hospital was the only option. Midwives did not initiate the discussion of availability of home birth but supported those who already knew and asked for it.
Conclusions: Almost a decade after the adoption of Changing Childbirth (DoH 1993) recommendations as policy in England there is still evidence of lack of information among pregnant women regarding services available to them. In this study the midwives' reluctance to inform women about home birth as a possible venue for childbirth, has been demonstrated.