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Concept: Home birth


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study is to compare the odds of postpartum haemorrhage among women who opt for home birth against the odds of postpartum haemorrhage for those who plan a hospital birth. It is an observational study involving secondary analysis of maternity records, using binary logistic regression modelling. The data relate to pregnancies that received maternity care from one of fifteen hospitals in the former North West Thames Regional Health Authority Area in England, and which resulted in a live or stillbirth in the years 1988–2000 inclusive, excluding ‘high-risk’ pregnancies, unplanned home births, pre-term births, elective Caesareans and medical inductions. RESULTS: Even after adjustment for known confounders such as parity, the odds of postpartum haemorrhage (>=1000ml of blood lost) are significantly higher if a hospital birth is intended than if a home birth is intended (odds ratio 2.5, 95% confidence interval 1.7 to 3.8). The ‘home birth’ group included women who were transferred to hospital during labour or shortly after birth. CONCLUSIONS: Women and their partners should be advised that the risk of PPH is higher among births planned to take place in hospital compared to births planned to take place at home, but that further research is needed to understand (a) whether the same pattern applies to the more life-threatening categories of PPH, and (b) why hospital birth is associated with increased odds of PPH. If it is due to the way in which labour is managed in hospital, changes should be made to practices which compromise the safety of labouring women.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Logit, Logistic regression, Pregnancy, Childbirth, Obstetrics, Midwifery, Home birth


BACKGROUND: Skilled attendants during labor, delivery, and in the early postpartum period, can prevent up to 75% or more of maternal death. However, in many developing countries, very few mothers make at least one antenatal visit and even less receive delivery care from skilled professionals. The present study reports findings from a region where key challenges related to transportation and availability of obstetric services were addressed by an ongoing project, giving a unique opportunity to understand why women might continue to prefer home delivery even when facility based delivery is available at minimal cost. METHODS: The study took place in Ethiopia using a mixed study design employing a cross sectional household survey among 15–49 year old women combined with in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. RESULTS: Seventy one percent of mothers received antenatal care from a health professional (doctor, health officer, nurse, or midwife) for their most recent birth in the one year preceding the survey. Overall only 16% of deliveries were assisted by health professionals, while a significant majority (78%) was attended by traditional birth attendants. The most important reasons for not seeking institutional delivery were the belief that it is not necessary (42%) and not customary (36%), followed by high cost (22%) and distance or lack of transportation (8%). The group discussions and interviews identified several reasons for the preference of traditional birth attendants over health facilities. Traditional birth attendants were seen as culturally acceptable and competent health workers. Women reported poor quality of care and previous negative experiences with health facilities. In addition, women’s low awareness on the advantages of skilled attendance at delivery, little role in making decisions (even when they want), and economic constraints during referral contribute to the low level of service utilization. CONCLUSIONS: The study indicated the crucial role of proper health care provider-client communication and providing a more client centered and culturally sensitive care if utilization of existing health facilities is to be maximized. Implications of findings for maternal health programs and further research are discussed.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Medicine, Healthcare, Childbirth, Obstetrics, Midwifery, Home birth


In many countries midwives act as the main providers of care for women throughout pregnancy, labour and birth. In our large public teaching hospital in Australia we restructured the way midwifery care is offered and introduced caseload midwifery for one third of women booked at the hospital. We then compared the costs and birth outcomes associated with caseload midwifery compared to the two existing models of care, standard hospital care and private obstetric care.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Hospital, Obstetrics, Traditional birth attendant, Midwifery, Home birth, Childbirth and obstetrics in antiquity


OBJECTIVE: to explore whether choices in birthing positions contributes to women’s sense of control during birth. DESIGN: survey using a self-report questionnaire. Multiple regression analyses were used to investigate which factors associated with choices in birthing positions affected women’s sense of control. SETTING: midwifery practices in the Netherlands. PARTICIPANTS: 1030 women with a physiological pregnancy and birth from 54 midwifery practices. FINDINGS: in the total group of women (n=1030) significant predictors for sense of control were: influence on birthing positions (self or self together with others), attendance of antenatal classes, feelings towards birth in pregnancy and pain in second stage of labour. For women who preferred other than supine birthing positions (n=204) significant predictors were: influence on birthing positions (self or self together with others), feelings towards birth in pregnancy, pain in second stage of labour and having a home birth. For these women, influence on birthing positions in combination with others had a greater effect on their sense of control than having an influence on their birthing positions just by themselves. KEY CONCLUSIONS: women felt more in control during birth if they experienced an influence on birthing positions. For women preferring other than supine positions, home birth and shared decision-making had added value. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: midwives can play an important role in supporting women in their use of different birthing positions and help them find the positions they feel most comfortable in. Thus, contributing to women’s positive experience of birth.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Pregnancy, Childbirth, Obstetrics, Value added, Traditional birth attendant, Midwifery, Home birth


Between 2004 and 2010, the number of home births in the United States rose by 41%, increasing the need for accurate assessment of the safety of planned home birth. This study examines outcomes of planned home births in the United States between 2004 and 2009.

Concepts: Childbirth, United States, California, Canada, North America, Americas, Latin America, Home birth


Home births in high risk pregnancies and unassisted childbirth seem to be increasing in the Netherlands. Until now there were no qualitative data on women’s motivations for these choices in the Dutch maternity care system where integrated midwifery care and home birth are regular options in low risk pregnancies. We aimed to examine women’s motivations for birthing outside the system in order to provide medical professionals with insight and recommendations regarding their interactions with women who have birth wishes that go against medical advice.

Concepts: Childbirth, Obstetrics, Netherlands, Dutch people, Midwifery, Unassisted childbirth, Birth, Home birth


In Australia the choice to birth at home is not well supported and only 0.4% of women give birth at home with a registered midwife. Recent changes to regulatory requirements for midwives have become more restrictive and there is no insurance product that covers private midwives for intrapartum care at home. Freebirth (planned birth at home with no registered health professional) with an unregulated birth worker who is not a registered midwife or doctor (e.g. Doula, ex-midwife, lay midwife etc.) appears to have increased in Australia. The aim of this study is to explore the reasons why women choose to give birth at home with an unregulated birth worker (UBW) from the perspective of women and UBWs.

Concepts: Health care, Childbirth, Obstetrics, Midwifery, Unassisted childbirth, Home birth, Natural childbirth, Birthing center


Research has shown good outcomes among individual low-risk women who receive perinatal care from midwives, yet little is known about how hospital-level variation in midwifery care relates to procedure use and maternal health. This study aimed to document the association between the hospital-level proportion of midwife-attended births and obstetric procedure utilization.

Concepts: Childbirth, Infant, Obstetrics, The Association, Traditional birth attendant, Midwifery, Home birth, Childbirth and obstetrics in antiquity


in 1997, The Albany Midwifery Practice was established within King’s College Hospital NHS Trust in a South East London area of high social disadvantage. The Albany midwives provided continuity of care to around 216 women per year, including those with obstetric, medical or social risk factors. In 2009, the Albany Midwifery Practice was closed in response to concerns about safety, amidst much publicity and controversy. The aim of this evaluation was to examine trends and outcomes for all mothers and babies who received care from the practice from 1997-2009.

Concepts: Childbirth, Obstetrics, Topology, Metric space, Midwifery, Home birth, Childbirth and obstetrics in antiquity, King's College Hospital


Rates of normal birth have been declining steadily over the past 20 years, despite the evidence of the benefits to mother and baby. This is most obvious in steadily increasing caesarean section rates across countries and studies of the factors involved suggest it may be more to do with the organization of maternity care and the preferences of healthcare providers than changes in maternal or demographic conditions. The proportion of women in British Columbia (BC) receiving care from a midwife continues to grow and there is a particular focus on promoting and supporting normal pregnancy and birth in the midwifery philosophy of care. In BC, women receiving care from a midwife are less likely to have a caesarean section and other birth interventions.

Concepts: Childbirth, Obstetrics, Caesarean section, Midwifery, Home birth, Childbirth and obstetrics in antiquity