Choosing the Birth Centre: Exploring women's experiences of place of birth decision-making

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Wood, Rebecca
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The Birth Centre is a midwife-led, out-of-hospital facility for normal births in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Exploring women’s experiences of choosing the Birth Centre was the primary objective for this thesis. Through a feminist perspective and using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), each participant’s idiographic description of the decision-making experience was analysed. A sample of seventeen women participated in in-depth interviews. Six themes emerged through the qualitative analysis: Exercising personal agency; Making the decision in the context of relationships; An expression of one’s ideology; Really thinking it through; Fitting into the eligibility criteria; and The psychology of the space. The findings suggest that a woman’s sense of safety is related to these themes. The women had a normal birth influence in their lives from personal relationships, past experiences, or personal values and beliefs. The study highlighted the importance of access to midwifery services in order to increase awareness and access to the Birth Centre.
midwifery, birth centres, informed choice, decision-making, interpretive phenomenological analysis