Objective: More than 10% of all planned home births in high-income countries are completed in the hospital. The aim of this study was to compare the birth experiences among women who planned to give birth at home and completed the birth at home and women who were transferred to hospital during or immediately after the birth.
Methods: All women in Sweden who had a planned home birth between 1998 and 2005 (n=671) were invited to participate in the study. The women who agreed to participate received one questionnaire for each planned home birth. Mixed methods were used for the analysis.
Results: Women who had been transferred during or immediately after the planned home birth had a more negative birth experience in general. In comparison with women who completed the birth at home, the odds ratio for being less satisfied was 13.5, CI 8.1-22.3. Reasons for being dissatisfied related to organizational factors, the way the women were treated or personal ability.
Conclusion: Being transferred during a planned home birth negatively affects the birth experience. Treatments as well as organizational factors are considered to be obstacles for a positive birth experience when transfer is needed. Established links between the home birth setting and the hospital might enhance the opportunity for a positive birth experience irrespective of where the birth is completed.
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