The funding will be used to transform maternity services by helping to deliver safer and more personalised care for mothers and babies.
A key element of this support will include giving women access to the same midwife or small team of midwives during pregnancy, the birth of their child and post birth.
The government believes a third of women will benefit from this by next March, rising to more than half by March 2021.
Currently, it is not uncommon for women to see a number of different midwives throughout their pregnancy and appointments. It is hoped that having continuity of care will mean that women don’t have to repeat their personal story several times, which can sometimes be difficult and upsetting.
This offer will be prioritised for those women and unborn children who would benefit from it the most, including those who have complex medical needs or are from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Previous research has shown that a long-term relationship with a midwife can help reduce pre-term births, hospital admissions and the need for intervention during labour, as well as improving the experiences of both pregnancy and childbirth for women.
The move is part of the ambitious NHS Long Term Plan that includes making sure safety in maternity services continues to improve, offering women more choice, and specialist support is given to mothers who are at risk of premature birth, including support to stop smoking.
The plan, published in January this year, promises continued improvement in choice and safety in maternity services over the next 10 years. Tommy’s has welcomed the plans, which aim to:
- save thousands of lives by halving the number of stillbirths, mother and child deaths and serious brain injuries
- make sure most women can have the same midwife throughout their pregnancy and beyond by delivering continuity of carer to ensure personal and safe care
- increase support for women and men who experience mental illness during or after pregnancy.
Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, the first chief midwifery officer for the NHS, said: ‘There has never been a better time to be expecting a child.
"The safety and quality of maternity services in England continues to improve, as do the choices available to new mums about the care they receive, and we have a growing number of NHS midwives, and those who support them, to thank.
The NHS Long Term Plan sets out an ambition to give every child the best start in life, beginning at conception, and this extra investment in midwives to enhance the care they can provide to mothers is central to how we will achieve that important goal."
Download the NHS Longterm Plan