Opinions of UK perinatal health care professionals on home birth

Andrea McNutt, Tamsin Thornton, Pamela Sizer, Anna Curley, Paul Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: to evaluate the opinions of UK perinatal health care professionals on home birthing. Design: cross-sectional survey. Setting: four hospitals and three Primary Care Trusts in the East of England. Population: hospital and community midwives, GPs, consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists, consultant paediatricians and neonatologists. Methods: postal questionnaire between December 2010 and June 2011 using Likert scales (range 0-10) and freetext questions. Data were analysed using the Kruskal-Wallis test and qualitative methods. Main outcome measures: opinions, support and enthusiasm for home birthing. Findings: 432/831 (52%) professionals responded: 224/418 (54%) midwives, 148/321 (46%) GPs, 32/52 (62%) obstetricians/gynaecologists and 28/41 (68%) paediatricians/neonatologists. Midwives were more enthusiastic about home birthing than any other professionals (median Likert scale rating: 9 [IQR 8-10], p<0.0001) and more supportive of the UK government's plan to increase home birth rates (median 8.5 [IQR 7-10], p<0.0001). GPs and obstetricians/gynaecologists tended to hold neutral opinions about home birthing (median of GPs 5 [IQR 3-7.5] and of obstetrician/gynaecologists 5 [IQR 2-7]) and regarding support for the government's plan (GP median 5 [IQR 2-6]; obstetrician/gynaecologists median 5 [IQR 2-5]). Paediatricians/neonatologists were generally negative about home birthing (median 4 [IQR 3-5]) and opposed to the government's plan (median 3 [IQR 2-5]). Conclusions: significant differences of opinion exist between UK perinatal health care professional groups about home birthing. Negative and neutral opinions should be further explored and addressed as they may impact on the uptake of home birth by women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-846
Number of pages8
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • Delivery
  • Labour
  • Policy

Cite this