Deliveries in maternity homes in Norway: results from a 2-year prospective study


Address for correspondence:
Prof. Pål Øian
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University Hospital
N-9038 Tromsø


Background.  The study aims to report the short-term outcome for the mothers and newborns for all pregnancies accepted for birth at maternity homes in Norway.

Methods.  A 2-year prospective study of all mothers in labor in maternity homes, i.e. all births including women and newborns transferred to hospital intra partum or the first week post partum.

Results.  The study included 1275 women who started labor in the maternity homes in Norway; 1% of all births in Norway during this period. Of those who started labor in a maternity home, 1217 (95.5%) also delivered there while 58 (4.5%) women were transferred to hospital during labor. In the post partum period there were 57 (4.7%) transferrals of mother and baby. Nine women had a vacuum extraction, one had a forceps and three had a vaginal breech (1.1% operative vaginal births in the maternity homes). Five babies (0.4%) had an Apgar score below 7 at 5 min. There were two (0.2%) neonatal deaths; both babies were born with a serious group B streptococcal infection.

Conclusion.  Midwives and general practitioners working in the districts can identify a low-risk population (estimated at 35%) of all pregnant women in the catchment areas who can deliver safely at the maternity homes in Norway. Only 4.5% of those who started labor in the maternity homes had to be transferred to hospital during labor.