Monday, May 11, 2009

Staying Home to Give Birth: Why Women in the U.S. Choose Home Birth

Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health

Volume 54 Issue 2. Pages 119-126 (March 2009)

Staying Home to Give Birth: Why Women in the United States Choose Home Birth

Approximately 1% of American women give birth at home and face substantial

obstacles when they make this choice. This study describes the reasons that

women in the United States choose home birth. A qualitative descriptive

secondary analysis was conducted in a previously collected dataset obtained

via an online survey. The sample consisted of 160 women who were US

residents and planned a home birth at least once. Content analysis was used

to study the responses from women to one essay question: "Why did you choose

home birth?" Women who participated in the study were mostly married (91%)

and white (87%). The majority (62%) had a college education. Our analysis

revealed 508 separate statements about why these women chose home birth.

Responses were coded and categorized into 26 common themes. The most common

reasons given for wanting to birth at home were: 1) safety (n = 38); 2)

avoidance of unnecessary medical interventions common in hospital births (n

= 38); 3) previous negative hospital experience (n = 37); 4) more control (n

= 35); and 5) comfortable, familiar environment (n = 30). Another dominant

theme was women's trust in the birth process (n = 25). Women equated medical

intervention with reduced safety and trusted their bodies' inherent ability

to give birth without interference.

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