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CMAJ. 1990 May 1; 142(9): 963–969.
PMCID: PMC1451764

Interest in alternative birthplaces among women in Ottawa-Carleton.


Birthing rooms, birth centres and home birth have been proposed as alternatives to the traditional in-hospital caserooms to meet the needs of women and their families more effectively. We performed a descriptive survey to determine the level of interest of childbearing women in the Ottawa-Carleton region in these birthplaces and to examine the characteristics of women who express an interest in using them. Of the 1629 women who gave birth between July 1 and Aug. 28, 1987, 1115 (68.4%) completed a self-administered questionnaire during the pregnancy, in the early postpartum period in hospital or at home. Of the respondents 577 (53.1%) said they would choose the caseroom, 316 (29.1%) the birthing room, 165 (15.2%) the birth centre and 30 (2.8%) home birth. The women who expressed an interest in a birthplace other than the caseroom were more likely than the others to be older, married, well-educated and interested in midwifery services and to breastfeed their babies (p less than 0.05). They were also more likely to have had a low-intervention vaginal birth (p less than 0.05). The interest expressed in birthing rooms, birth centres and home birth suggests that these alternatives should be considered for inclusion in the health care system.

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