All women in established labour should receive supportive one-to-one care, according to NICE guidance on the care of healthy mothers during the intrapartum period.
The guidance states that women must be provided with enough information and advice for them to be in control of their labour and able to make decisions that suit them.
For example, they should be able to make an informed decision about where they want to give birth, including the opportunity to labour in water for pain relief.
Clinical intervention should not be offered where labour is progressing normally and women must be informed of the risks and benefits of epidural analgesia before they choose it, NICE said.
RCM general secretary Dame Karlene Davis said: 'Midwives support any attempts to make sure women have the information about the choices and options available about where they give birth.'
But she added: 'Midwife led services continue to be undervalued and considered less than that of obstetricians, and this has to be challenged.'