Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Determinants of Women's Choice of Birth Center Versus Home or Hospital Birth in Alberta, Canada - January 2010 - June 2011
by Scrymgeour, Carly, M.S.M., Bastyr University, 2012, 70; 1514961
Abstract (Summary)

Background: In the past two decades, midwifery in Canada has become increasingly popular. With this increase in popularity has come an increased desire for women's choice in place of birth. Birth Centers are one option for safe out-of-hospital birth that has the potential to relieve some of the pressure on Alberta's publicly funded health care system. Home birth and hospital birth are both funded options for Alberta women, while use of a birth center has an out of pocket user fee associated with it. The objective of this paper was: to determine reasons why women chose to birth at the Arbour Birth Center in Calgary, Alberta, as opposed to home or hospital, what barriers, if any, existed in deciding to use the birth center, and to determine women's satisfaction with the use of a birth center.

Methods: A survey tool was developed to gather data needed to answer the research questions. A mix of open-ended, closed-ended and contingency questions was used. Closed-ended and contingency questions were utilized in order to focus survey responses. NVivo 9 qualitative data analysis software was used to review participant responses and to identify key themes, as well as commonalities and differences.

Results: The top three reasons women chose a freestanding birth center for their births were because of the homelike, comfortable atmosphere, the large bathtubs, and the Center's close proximity to an acute care hospital. The most common reason for not choosing a homebirth was because the participants' home was located too far from a hospital in the case of complications. The most common reason for not choosing to birth in the hospital was because participants do not like the hospital environment, they believe the hospital is for sick people and that pregnancy is not an illness, and they believe that they and their newborns are at increased risk for acquiring an infection while they are hospitalized. Forty-four percent of participants indicated that cost was a factor that made it difficult to decide to use a birth center, and the majority (68.9%) indicated they would book a birth center for their next birth.

Conclusions: The results of this study show that women who book birth centers do not agree with the medical model for birthing in hospitals and want the option to birth elsewhere, and they are satisfied with their birth experience at birth centers. Women who responded to the research questionnaire were able to afford the birth center facility fee, however, they indicated cost was a consideration and suggested that AHS should cover this cost.

Key Words: Natural childbirth, Labour, Birth center, Midwifery, Funding, Homebirth, Out-of-hospital birth, Hospital birth, Satisfaction, Women's choice.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Myers, Susan J.
Commitee: Brownsey, Keith, Rach, Diane, Surgeoner, Brae
School: Bastyr University
Department: Department of Midwifery
School Location: United States -- Washington
Source: MAI 51/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Medicine, Public health
Keywords: Birth centers, Homebirth, Hospital births, Midwifery, Satisfaction, Women's choice
Publication Number: 1514961
ISBN: 978-1-267-48668-4
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