Women and maternity care providers experiences of planned home birth in Northern Ireland: A descriptive survey

Patricia Gillen, Olufikayo Bamidele, Maria Healy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
106 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Where a woman gives birth impacts both her postnatal outcomes and experiences. However, for women who plan home birth in Northern Ireland, their experiences and that of their maternity care providers are rarely sought. Aim: This study examined women's and maternity care providers’ experiences and perceptions of home birth service provision in Northern Ireland. Methods: Online surveys were used to investigate the experiences of women (n = 62) who had experienced a home birth or had a view on planned home birth and maternity care providers (n = 77) who offered home birth services in Northern Ireland between November 2018 and November 2020. The surveys were analysed using descriptive statistics. Findings: The women were all multigravida, with 39 experiencing a planned home birth and three having an intrapartum transfer. Most of the women (61.3 %; n = 38/62) knew about home birth services through social media or friends and 91% (n = 57/62) discussed their plans for home birth with their maternity care providers antenatally. Maternity care providers were mostly supportive (64.9 %; n = 50/77) of women having a choice about place of birth. Midwives were mostly confident (52 %; n = 13/25) or very confident (28 %; n = 7) about caring for women having a planned home birth but did not always feel supported by colleagues. Discussion: Most women rated their care as excellent or very good. Midwives reported limited support from colleagues for home birth provision. Conclusion: There is a need to support women in their birthplace choice and empower maternity care providers to facilitate this through a fully resourced home birth service infrastructure and collegial support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages10
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue number4
Early online date3 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 3 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Southern Health and Social Care Trust HSC Research and Development Fund and matched funding from the Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland, Opportunity Led Research Fund .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors


  • Pregnancy
  • Mixed methods
  • Childbirth
  • Planned home birth
  • Maternity care providers


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