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ABSTRACT

This study sought to identify some important characteristics of women who reject hospitals as a place of birth and to determine whether those characteristics are also associated with choice between the two nontraditional alternatives available, ie, birth in a free-standing birth center and birth at home. Data were obtained from 200 mothers on demographics and health-promoting behaviors, with particular focus on exposure to and information about drugs during pregnancy and childbirth, perceived locus of control, factors entering into the decision to choose one or the other nontraditional birthplaces, and extent of satisfaction with this choice. There were differences between groups in the use of drugs for health-related complaints, in information about drugs, and in consumption of drugs (including drugs implicated as teratogenic) during pregnancy and childbirth. There were no differences in the extent to which mothers perceived themselves as being in control of their environments or in the extent to which they engaged in behavior known to promote health and prevent disease.