To explore first-time pregnant women's expectations and factors influencing their choice of birthplace.
Although outcomes and advantages for low-risk childbearing women giving birth in midwifery-led units and home compared with obstetric units have been investigated previously, there is little information on the factors that influence women's choice of place of birth.
A qualitative Straussian grounded theory methodology was adopted. Fourteen women expecting their first baby were recruited from three large National Health Service organizations that provided maternity services free at the point of care. The three organizations offered the following birthplace options: home, freestanding midwifery unit and obstetric unit. Ethical approvals were obtained and informed consent was gained from each participant.
Data collection was undertaken in 2013–2014. One tape-recorded face-to-face semistructured interview was conducted with each woman in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Findings are presented as three main themes: (i) influencing factors on the choice of birthplace; (ii) expectations on the midwife's ‘being’ and ‘doing’ roles; (iii) perceptions of safety.
Midwives should consider each woman's expectations and approach to birth beyond the planned birthplace, as these are often influenced by the intersection of various influencing factors. Several birthplace options should be made available to women in each maternity service and the alternatives should be shared with women by healthcare professionals during pregnancy to allow an informed choice. Virtual tours or visits to the birth units could also be offered to women to help them familiarize with the chosen setting.
Borrelli, S. E., Walsh, D., & Spiby, H. (2017). First-time mothers’ choice of birthplace: influencing factors, expectations of the midwife's role and perceived safety. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 73(8), 1937-1946. https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.13272