Personal Beliefs and Alternative Childbirth Choices: A Survey of 552 Women Who Planned to Give Birth at Home

Authors

  • Hilda Bastian

    Corresponding author
    1. Hilda Bastian is a maternity consumer advocate and researcher. This survey was conducted through Homebirth Australia Inc, a national consumer organization, and supported by a grant from the Consumers' Health Forum of Australia Inc.
      Address correspondence to Hilda Bastian, PO Box 314, Katoomba, NSW 2780, Australia.
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Address correspondence to Hilda Bastian, PO Box 314, Katoomba, NSW 2780, Australia.

ABSTRACT

In Australia, planning to give birth at home was unusual in the middle to late 1980s, a choice made by only about 0.5 percent of women. This study investigated the personal beliefs and circumstances of 552 women who planned to give birth at home. Results showed that these women came from diverse backgrounds and beliefs, although in general they were of higher than average educational and occupational status, and less likely to hold Christian beliefs relative to the Australian community in general. Their lives and experiences rejected both unconventional and more traditional choices, and the view that women who give birth at home characteristically belong to the counterculture could not be justified. The findings of this study suggest that stereotypes of women who give birth at home do not apply to the circumstances of substantial numbers of women.

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