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More home births during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands

Verhoeven, Corine J. M.; Boer, José; Kok, Marjolein; Nieuwenhuijze, Marianne; Jonge, Ank; Peters, Lilian L.

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José Boer

Marjolein Kok

Marianne Nieuwenhuijze

Ank Jonge

Lilian L. Peters


The aim of this observational study was to examine whether the course of pregnancy and birth and accompanying outcomes among low-risk pregnant women changed in the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the prepandemic period.

We analyzed data from the Dutch Midwifery Case Registration System (VeCaS). Differences in the course of pregnancy and birth, and accompanying maternal and neonatal outcomes, were calculated between women pregnant during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 1 to August 3, 2020) and the prepandemic period (March 1–August 3, 2019). We also conducted a stratified analysis by parity.

We included 5913 low-risk pregnant women of whom 2963 (50.1%) were pregnant during the first surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2950 (49.9%) in the prepandemic period. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more women desired and had a home birth. More women used pain medication and fewer had an episiotomy in the COVID-19 period than prior. Multiparous women had a higher suspected rate of fetal growth restriction during COVID; however, the actual rate of small for gestational age infants was not significantly increased. We observed no differences for onset and augmentation of labor or for mode of birth, though the rate of vaginal births increased.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a higher rate of planned and actual home birth, and suspected growth restriction and a lower rate of episiotomy among low-risk pregnant women in the Netherlands.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 19, 2022
Online Publication Date May 12, 2022
Publication Date 2022-12
Deposit Date Jun 7, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 8, 2023
Journal Birth
Print ISSN 0730-7659
Electronic ISSN 1523-536X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 4
Pages 792-804
Keywords Obstetrics and Gynecology
Public URL
Publisher URL


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