Multiparous women's confidence to have a publicly-funded homebirth: A qualitative study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Women and Birth, 2011, 24 (3), pp. 122 - 128
Issue Date:
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Background: Hospital birth is commonly thought to be a safer option than homebirth, despite many studies showing similar rates of safety for low risk mothers and babies when cared for by qualified midwives with systems of back-up in place. Recently in Australia, demand has led to the introduction of a small number of publicly-funded homebirth programs. Women's confidence in having a homebirth through a publicly-funded homebirth program in Australia has not yet been explored. Aim: The aim of the study was to explore the reasons why multiparous women feel confident to have a homebirth within a publicly-funded model of care in Australia. Methods: Ten multiparous English-speaking women who chose to have a homebirth with the St George Hospital Homebirth Program were interviewed in the postnatal period using semi-structured, open-ended questions. Interviews were transcribed, then a thematic analysis was undertaken. Results: Women, having already experienced a normal birth, demonstrated a strong confidence in their ability to give birth at home and described a confidence in their bodies, their midwives, and the health system. Women weighed up the risks of homebirth through information they gathered and integration with their previous experience of birth, their family support and self-confidence. Discussion: Women choosing publicly-funded homebirth display strong confidence in both themselves to give birth at home, and their belief in the health system's ability to cope with any complications that may arise. Implications for practice: Many women may benefit from access to publicly-funded homebirth models of care. This should be further investigated. © 2010 Australian College of Midwives.
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