Inclusion and exclusion criteria for publicly-funded homebirth in Australia: A scoping review

Published:February 01, 2021DOI:



      There are fifteen publicly-funded homebirth programs currently operating in Australia. Suitability for these programs is determined by a series of inclusion and exclusion criteria.


      The aim of this scoping review is to identify common inclusion and exclusion criteria for publicly-funded homebirth programs and other related factors that affect access to these programs.


      A Google search was conducted for publicly-funded homebirth programs listed on the National Publicly-funded Homebirth Consortium website. Public websites, documents, and policies were analysed to identify inclusion and exclusion criteria for these programs.


      Eleven of the 15 publicly-funded homebirth programs mention the availability of homebirth on their health service website, with varying levels of information about the inclusion and exclusion criteria available. Two of the programs with no information on their health service website are covered by a state-wide guideline. Additional details were sought directly from programs and obtaining further information from some individual homebirth programs was challenging. Variation in inclusion and exclusion criteria exists between programs. Common areas of variation include restrictions relating to Body Mass Index, parity, age, English language ability, tests required during pregnancy, and gestation at booking to the homebirth program.


      The inclusion and exclusion criteria for a publicly-funded homebirth program determines women’s access to the program. Limited publicly available information regarding inclusion and exclusion criteria for many publicly-funded homebirth programs is likely to limit women’s awareness of and access to these programs.


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