When first pregnant I was fortunate to have several home visits all from the same highly experienced wonderful NHS community midwife as we booked for a home birth. During these, I was able to develop a rapport with her, felt able to ask her anything at all and consequently felt very safe and well when she eventually was present for the birth of our daughter even though we ended up in a hospital (for rehydration). My experience appears to contrast with that of many women I know who booked for a hospital birth; they had to go all the way up to the hospital, wait for hours, see a succession of people with whom they were able to develop no rapport and had little or no time to ask questions they wanted to ask. One in particular developed a life-threatening infection as a direct result of giving birth in hospital. At the birth, several felt under pressure to try and deliver before a particular midwife went off shift, as they were keen to have someone present with whom they had developed a little of a rapport. Too many people are already being herded together into a system with too few midwives or even cleaners. Many women find themselves corralled into giving birth in an environment which they discover too late whilst in labour not only fails to deliver the technical support which it is often erroneously claimed renders a hospital birth safer, ,but also which exposes them to serious infections and in which their role as parents is often not valued. The psychological effects of not being heard or adequately supported during labour can be profound, negative and lasting; Addenbrookes here in Cambridge offers a post-natal service called Birth Afterthoughts which gives women the chance of post-natal counselling to overcome the trauma they may have experienced whist giving birth. Stress is manageable when you still feel in control; it is when you feel out of control, unconsulted and rail-roaded into a course of action of someone else’s devising that psychological damage can be done. Birth After thoughts provides a much needed service for many women.