Document Detail

Birth centres and the national maternity services review: Response to consumer demand or compromise?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21167799     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
BACKGROUND: In February 2009 the Improving Maternity Services in Australia - The Report of the Maternity Services Review (MSR) was released and recommended improving women's access to and availability of birth centres. It was unclear if this was in response to an overwhelming request for birth centres in the submissions received by the commonwealth or a compromise for excluding homebirth from the maternity service reforms. AIM: The aim of this paper was to examine what was said in the submissions to the MSR about birth centres. METHODS: Data for this study comprised 832 submissions to the MSR that are publicly available on the Commonwealth of Australia Department of Health and Ageing website. All 832 submissions were downloaded, and read for any mention of the words 'birth centre', 'birth center'. Content analysis was used to categorise and report the data. RESULTS: Of the 832 submissions to the MSR 197 (24%) mentioned birth centres while 470 (60%) of the submissions mentioned homebirth. Only 31 (4%) of the submissions to the Maternity Review mentioned birth centres without mentioning home birth also. Most of the submissions emphasised that 'everything should be on the menu' when it came to place of birth and care provider. Reasons for choosing a birth centre were identified as: 'the best compromise available, 'the right and natural way' and 'the birth centre as safe'. Women had certain requirements of a birth centre that included: 'continuity of carer', 'midwife led', 'a sanctum from medicalised care', 'resources to cope with demand', 'close to home', and 'flexible guidelines and admission criteria'. Women weighed up a series of requirements when deciding whether to give birth in a birth centre. DISCUSSION: The recommendation by the MSR to expand birth centres and ignore home birth is at odds with the strong view expressed that 'everything should be on the menu'. The requirements women described of birth centre care are also at odds with current trends. CONCLUSION: If there is to be an expansion of birth centres, service providers need to make sure that women's views are central to the design. Women will not cease having homebirths due to expanded birth centre options.
H Dahlen; M Jackson; V Schmied; S Tracy; H Priddis
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2010-12-15
Journal Detail:
Title:  Women and birth : journal of the Australian College of Midwives     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1878-1799     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2010 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-12-20     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101266131     Medline TA:  Women Birth     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2010 Australian College of Midwives. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
School of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Health and Science, University of Western Sydney, Building ER, Parramatta Campus, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 1797, Australia.
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