Objective The introduction of new models of care in the Irish maternity services has been recommended by both advocacy groups and strategic reports. The purpose of this study was to seek the views of women about the different models of care.
Subjects and methods We surveyed women who were attending the out-patients department in early pregnancy in a large Dublin maternity hospital. Demographic and clinical details were recorded prospectively.
Results Of the 501 women surveyed, 45.5% preferred to deliver in a doctor-led unit, while 42.9% preferred a midwifery-led unit. Of those 42.9%, 55% met the inclusion criteria. There was minimal demand (1.6%) for home births. Of the 8 who opted for home delivery, only 4 (0.8% overall) were suitable on clinical grounds. 70% wanted shared antenatal care between their general practitioner and either an obstetrician or midwife. Choice was influenced by whether the woman was attending for private care or not. Safety is the most important factor for women when choosing the type of maternity care they want. A private room and a desire to avoid hospitals are least important. Of women surveyed, 86% believed they had enough information to allow them to choose the model of maternity care.
Conclusion We found that pregnant women in Ireland want a range of choices when it comes to models of maternity care. Their choice is strongly influenced by childbirth safety issues and least influenced by the physical surroundings for childbirth.
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