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Women’s perceptions of inclusion and exclusion criteria for publicly-funded homebirth — A survey

Published:September 10, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2021.08.007

      Abstract

      Background

      There are 15 publicly-funded homebirth programs in Australia. Women’s access to these programs is determined by program specific inclusion and exclusion criteria.

      Aims

      To examine women’s perception of inclusion and exclusion criteria for publicly-funded homebirth programs in Australia and how these perceptions may influence women’s choices and access to these programs.

      Methods

      A national online survey was conducted and promoted through social media networks to women interested in homebirth in Australia. Quantitative data were analysed to generate descriptive statistics and a content analysis was performed on qualitative data.

      Findings

      A total of 830 surveys were collected. Most women were supportive of inclusion and exclusion criteria related to social and environmental factors, although there was ambivalence about requiring ambulance cover, not having a history of domestic violence in the current relationship and requiring the woman to speak basic English. With regards to obstetric factors, only a requirement for labour to commence spontaneously at term was supported by over half of participants. All other obstetric related criteria had over half of participants disagreeing or strongly disagreeing that they should be used to prevent a woman from birthing at home. A desire for choice and access was frequently mentioned in the qualitative data.

      Conclusion

      There is a need to address the lack of choice many women experience when pregnant and the lack of equitable access to affordable homebirth services in Australia.

      Keywords

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