Objectives To compare the outcome of two methods of maternity care during the antenatal period and at delivery. One was to be midwife-led for both antenatal care and delivery, the latter taking place in rooms similar to those in one's own home to simulate home confinement. The other would be consultant-led with the mothers labouring in the delivery suite rooms with resuscitation equipment for both mother and baby in evidence, monitors present and a delivery bed on which both anaesthetic and obstetric procedures could be easily and safely carried out.
Design Randomised controlled trial.
Setting Leicester Royal Infirmary Maternity Hospital.
Subjects Of 3510 women who were randomised, 2304 were assigned to the midwife-led scheme and 1206 were assigned to the consultant-led scheme.
Main outcome measures Complications in the antenatal, intrapartum and postpartum periods were compared as was maternal morbidity and fetal mortality and morbidity. Satisfaction of the women with care over different periods of the pregnancy and birth were assessed.
Results There were few significant differences in antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum events between the two groups. There was no difference in the percentage of mothers and babies discharged home alive and well. Generally higher levels of satisfaction with care antenatally and during labour and delivery were shown in those women allocated to midwife care.