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Keywords:

  • birth;
  • client satisfaction;
  • home childbirth;
  • hospital;
  • midwifery;
  • pregnancy

The purpose of this study was to compare satisfaction with the birth experience among a population of women planning birth at home versus in hospital. In British Columbia, Canada, all midwives offer women meeting eligibility requirements for homebirth the choice to give birth in hospital or at home. Therefore, satisfaction can be attributed to planned place of birth, as the caregivers were the same in both settings. The mean overall score on the Labour Agentry Scale among women who had planned a homebirth (n = 550), 188.49 ± 16.85, was significantly higher than those who planned birth in hospital (n = 108), 176.60 ± 23.79; P < .001. Overall satisfaction with the birth experience was higher among women planning birth at home, 4.87 ± 0.42 versus 4.80 ± 0.49 on a scale of 1 to 5, although this difference was not statistically significant; P = .06. Among women whose actual place of birth was congruent with where they had planned, overall satisfaction was higher in the homebirth group, 4.95 ± 0.20 versus 4.75 ± 0.53; P < .001. Although satisfaction with the birth experience was high in both the home and hospital settings, women planning birth at home were somewhat more satisfied with their experience, particularly if they were able to complete the birth at home.