Women who see themselves as active participants in the delivery of their first child, and prefer a collaborative role with their healthcare provider are more likely to prefer planned home birth and the care of a midwife, according to a new survey conducted by Columbia University School of Nursing's Adriana Arcia, PhD, RN, and published in the journal Midwifery.
Alternatively, when women perceive the mother's role in the birthing process more passively, and are more fearful of the of the delivery experience, they are more likely to seek the care of a physician and the hospital setting for childbirth.
A web-based survey of perceptions toward childbirth by women of child-bearing years (ages 18 -40) that have not yet had children was designed to better understand respondents' perceptions of three areas: the Mother's Role, the Provider's Role, and the Delivery Experience. Their answers indicated whether they perceived the Mother's Role as active or passive, the Provider's Role as dominant or collaborative, and the Delivery Experience as fearful and painful, or as a positive occurrence.
"We found women who perceived their role in the birth of their first child as an active one, the provider's role as collaborative, and the delivery of the child as a positive experience, were more likely to prefer midwifery care, birth at home, a vaginal delivery and the avoidance of pain medication," said Arcia.
However, the number of "passive" moms far outnumbered the number of "active" moms. These women preferred a physician to attend their delivery, to give birth in a hospital setting, and also preferred vaginal delivery.