Experiences of Australian mothers who gave birth either at home, at a birth centre, or in hospital labour wards

Soc Sci Med. 1993 Feb;36(4):475-83. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(93)90409-w.


In order to compare their antenatal education levels, reasons for choosing the birthplace, experiences during labor and childbirth, analgesia, satisfaction with birth attendants and others present, and related attitudes 395 Sydney-area mothers were recruited within one year of giving birth. Five sources were used to obtain mail-questionnaire responses from 239 who gave birth in a hospital labor ward, 35 at a birth centre, and 121 who chose to give birth at home. Homebirth mothers were older, more educated, more feminist, more willing to accept responsibility for maintaining their own health, better read on childbirth, more likely to be multiparous, and gave higher rating of their midwives than labour-ward mothers, with birth-centre mothers generally scoring between the other two groups. As well, homebirth and birth-centre mothers were more likely to feel the birthplace affected the bonding process and were less likely to regard birth as a medical condition than labour-ward mothers. In regression analysis birth venue (among other variables) significantly predicted satisfaction with doctor, if present during labour and delivery, and five variables correlated with birth venue significantly predicted satisfaction with midwife, husband/partner, and other support person. Findings are discussed in the light of the current struggle between medical and 'natural' models of childbirth.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Birthing Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Delivery Rooms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Home Childbirth / psychology
  • Home Childbirth / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Class
  • Social Support