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Title: Birth Place Decisions : a prospective, qualitative study of how women and their partners make sense of risk and safety when choosing where to give birth
Author: Coxon, Kirstie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 6947
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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For the past two decades, English health policy has proposed that women should have a choice of place of birth, but despite this, almost all births still take place in hospital. The policy context is one of contested evidence about birth outcomes in relation to place of birth, and of international debate about the safety of birth in non-hospital settings; partly as a consequence of this, 'birth place decisions' have become morally and politically charged. Given the perceived lack of consensus about birth place safety, this study sought to explore the experience of making birth place decisions from the perspectives of women and their partners, in the context of contemporary NHS maternity care. -- Longitudinal narrative interviews were conducted with 41 women and 15 birth partners recruited from three English NHS trusts, each of which provided different birth place options. Initial interviews were conducted during pregnancy, and follow up interviews took place at the end of pregnancy and again up to three months after the birth. Altogether, 141 interviews were conducted and analysed using a thematic narrative approach. -- This research contributes new knowledge about how birth place decisions are undertaken and negotiated, and about the extent to which some are excluded from these choices. Participants' beliefs about birth place risk originated in upbringing and drew upon normative discourses which positioned hospital as an appropriate setting for birth. Individual worldviews informed conceptualisations of birth place risk, and these were premised upon prioritisation of medical risks of birth, perceived quality of the maternity service or the likelihood that medical intervention would interfere with birth.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available