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Home birth or short-stay hospital birth in a low risk population in the Netherlands


  • Wiegers, T. A.
  • van der Zee, J.
  • Kerssens, J. J.
  • Keirse, M. J. N. C.


In the Netherlands women with low risk pregnancies can choose whether they want to give birth at home or in hospital, under the care of their own primary caregiver. The majority of these women prefer to give birth at home, but over the last few decades an increasing number of low risk women have chosen a hospital birth, leaving hospital with their baby shortly after delivery. As both this trend and its effects have not been extensively investigated, a study was designed to examine the determinants of the choice for home or hospital birth. It was hypothesized that the choice would be determined by a combination of personal and social factors. Structural equation modelling indicated that social factors, especially the confidence of significant others in home birth and the expectations of hospital care during childbirth, were by far the strongest predictors of choice. Personal factors, measured as perceived health status before and during pregnancy, the existence of minor symptoms and fear of pain or complications during birth, were found to play an indirect role. Demographic variables such as age, education and urbanization showed no effect. These findings indicate that emphasizing the good results and excellent quality of Dutch maternity care at home is likely to support and strengthen the general acceptance of home birth.

Suggested Citation

  • Wiegers, T. A. & van der Zee, J. & Kerssens, J. J. & Keirse, M. J. N. C., 1998. "Home birth or short-stay hospital birth in a low risk population in the Netherlands," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(11), pages 1505-1511, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:46:y:1998:i:11:p:1505-1511

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pavlova, Milena & Hendrix, Marijke & Nouwens, Elvira & Nijhuis, Jan & van Merode, Godefridus, 2009. "The choice of obstetric care by low-risk pregnant women in the Netherlands: Implications for policy and management," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 27-34, November.
    2. N. Meltem Daysal & Mircea Trandafir & Reyn van Ewijk, 2015. "Saving Lives at Birth: The Impact of Home Births on Infant Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 28-50, July.


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