The UK's maternity services are in need of a change of focus in order to encourage home births.
This is according to Cathy Warwick, general secretary at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).
Commenting in the RCM's New Year Message, released today (Wednesday, December 29th), Ms Warwick said that a "seismic shift" is needed to improve the safety of a home birth.
The UK is "embedded in a medicalised culture", she added, which is pushing the majority of mothers towards hospital births due to shortfalls in maternity services.
"Childbirth is a normal process not an 'illness' that requires hospitalisation. Home birth should be supported by the medical establishment," Ms Warwick explained.
She added that the country also has an unusually high rate of caesarean births at almost 25 per cent.The UK saw a decline in the home birth rate during 2009, from 2.9 per cent the year before to just 2.7 per cent.