ABSTRACT: Despite long-standing consumer efforts to make childbirth more natural and emotionally rewarding, recent efforts to close small, local maternity units and to consolidate maternity care in large, technologically advanced units have led to increasingly costly, interventive focus by maternity care providers. Health planning on the local, regional and national levels offers the consumer many avenues for instituting community-based, preventive, primary maternity care. This paper sounds a warning and provides information necessary for consumers to take a more politically active role in planning for maternity and newborn care.