Psychological and socio-demographic correlates of women’s decisions to give birth at home
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Submission date: 2014-08-19
Acceptance date: 2014-08-19
Online publication date: 2014-09-18
Publication date: 2014-09-22
Health Psychology Report 2014;2(3):197-207
Some women decide to give birth at home. They treat their home as a safe place to do so, are against medicalization of natural labour or value activity and autonomy during labour. They are also characterized by good knowledge of their own bodies and about labour in general (including labour at home).
Psychological studies have revealed a correlation between labour (including the derived satisfaction) and the levels of dispositional optimism, perception of efficacy, and coping with pain. Analysis of the available demographic data shows that the decision to give birth at home is correlated with a certain socio-demographic profile of women.

Participants and procedures
One hundred thirty five mothers took part in the study. Among them 72 had given birth at home and 63 in a hospital. The following were assumed as important psychological determinants: dispositional optimism, sense of self-efficacy, strategies for coping with pain and their effectiveness. The LOT-R Test, GSES Scale, CSQ Questionnaire as well as a demographic questionnaire were used in the study.

Women who gave birth at home were characterised by significantly higher levels of optimism and sense of self-efficacy in comparison with the other women. Women giving birth at home reinterpreted the sensations of pain more frequently than the others, who were more likely to catastrophise and pray/hope. The level of conviction about having control over pain was much higher in the experimental group. The relationship between choice of place to give birth and the level of education, marital status, area of residence as well as age is weak. Correlations between the place of birth and income, number of children as well as membership of religious communities are moderate and statistically significant.

It is important to see and meet the different expectations of the two distinct groups of women. Today’s phenomenon of homebirth requires systematic interdisciplinary research. The system of obstetric care should get ready for the ongoing social changes. It is also necessary to systematically collect socio-demographic data of women giving birth at home. Further research, as well as the use of current results in the process of selecting women to give birth at home, is suggested.
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