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Planned and unplanned home births and hospital births in Calgary, Alberta, 1984-87

Planned and unplanned home births and hospital births in Calgary, Alberta, 1984-87

Public Health Reports 104(4): 373-377

ISSN/ISBN: 0033-3549

PMID: 2502809

DOI: 10.2307/4628678

Information collected on all home births in Calgary (Canada) between the years 1984 and 1987, was examined and analyzed according to whether the home birth environment had been planned or unplanned. The two groups were compared to each other and to all hospital births according to demographic characteristics of mothers, indicators of prenatal care, and birth outcome. Mothers who had planned their home birth were more likely to be primiparous, attend prenatal classes, obtain regular prenatal care from a physician, and have babies with a higher birth weight than either the unplanned or hospital group. Of particular concern, however, were the subset of unplanned home births who were primiparous. These mothers attended prenatal classes less frequently than any other group, reported the lowest number of physician visits, were youngest, and least likely to be married. In addition their babies averaged the shortest gestational age and the lowest birth weight. Findings in general show that planned and unplanned home births must be considered as heterogeneous groups in any comparison of risk factors and of birth outcome between home and hospital births. Further, within the unplanned group, multiparous women differ from primiparous women. Given the limitations inherent in this and similar studies, the apparent better outcome in the planned home birth group, as measured by birth weight, must be viewed with caution.

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Accession: 040986964

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