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Satisfaction with a Modified Form of In-Hospital Birth Center Care Compared with Standard Maternity Care


  • This study was supported by research grants from the Stockholm County Council, Stockholm, Sweden.

Address correspondence to Ulla Waldenström, Bastugatan 42, 118 25 Stockholm, Sweden.



For safety reasons an in-hospital birth center was replaced by a modified form of birth center care with the same medical guidelines and equipment as in standard care. The aim of this study was to investigate women's and men's satisfaction with modified care compared with standard care.


Women in both groups gave birth from July 2007 to July 2008. The same medical low-risk criteria during pregnancy applied to both groups. Of those invited to the study, 547 (82.7%) women in modified birth center care and 445 (66.7%) men returned a questionnaire posted 2 months after the birth, and 786 (71.6%) women and 639 (58.2%) men in standard care. Odds ratios (ORs) for being satisfied were calculated with 95 percent confidence intervals (CIs) and adjusted for possible confounders. We also explored the effects of different components of care on overall satisfaction.


Adjusted ORs for being satisfied overall were approximately doubled in the modified birth center group compared with the standard care group: antenatal care—OR: 2.1 (95% CI: 1.6–2.7) in women and OR: 2.2 (95% CI: 1.5–2.8) in men; intrapartum care—OR: 2.2 (95% CI: 1.7–2.9) in women and OR: 1.7 (95% CI: 1.3–2.4) in men; and postpartum care—OR: 1.7 in women (95% CI: 1.4–2.2) and OR: 2.1 (95% CI: 1.6–2.8) in men. Important explanations of these differences included perception of the midwife as being more supportive, the presence of a calmer environment and atmosphere (intrapartum), and the option for fathers to stay overnight (postpartum).


In-hospital birth center with medical equipment on site increased overall satisfaction with all episodes of care compared with standard care. (BIRTH 39:2 June 2012)