Newborn baby with NHS midwife doctor
Labour will promise pregnant women personalised midwife care if they are elected (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Ed Miliband will guarantee all pregnant women personalised midwife care during labour and childbirth.

The party says that the move – dubbed Call the Midwife, after the popular BBC show – will be drafted into the NHS constitution if Labour is elected in next month's general elections, and it will be funded through the mansion tax on homes worth more than £2m.

Labour has already pledged to recruit 3,000 midwives in England via a £2.5bn "Time to Care" fund, which will be partially financed by the proposed property tax.

Ed Miliband, who will launch Labour's manifesto today, said: "When our two sons were born we received brilliant care from NHS midwives. I know how important this is for mothers, for babies – and for fathers too – at this special but nerve-wracking time for families.

Call the midwives

"But too often staff shortages in the NHS means nurses, doctors and midwives feel they don't have the time to offer the care that they want, and families need.

"Call the Midwife shouldn't just be a TV programme from the past, but part of our NHS future too. We need to ensure the NHS can offer every woman the personalised one-to-one care we expect from a modern and thriving health service.

"Our fully-funded plan will provide the extra staff including midwives needed to give them the time to care. Because it is time to care for our NHS."

Aside from the mansion tax, Labour also plans to clamp down on tax avoidance and introduce a new levy on tobacco firms to pay for the extra NHS spending.

Support during pregnancy needed

Jon Skewes, director for policy, employment relations and communications at the Royal College of Midwives welcomed the move: "So long as the birth rate does not start to rise again, these extra midwives could potentially eliminate England's longstanding midwifery shortage, which would be a big achievement.

"It will also be important to ensure that community midwifery services are also properly staffed. In addition to having one-to-one care during childbirth, women should also get the midwifery support they need during pregnancy and in the days following the birth of their child."

Conservative leader David Cameron is set to confirm that a Tory government would match the LibDem pledge to spend an addition £8bn on the NHS by 2020.