, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 230-239
Date: 23 Feb 2012

‘A Normal Delivery Takes Place at Home’: A Qualitative Study of the Location of Childbirth in Rural Ethiopia

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To identify reasons why women who access health facilities and utilise maternal newborn and child health services at other times, do not necessarily deliver at health facilities. Forty-six semi-structured interviews were conducted with mothers who had recently delivered (n = 30) or were pregnant (n = 16). Thematic analysis of the interview data resulted in emerging trends that were critically addressed according to the research objective. Of the 30 delivered cases, 14 had given birth at a health facility, but only 3 of those had planned to do so. The remaining 11 had attended due to long or complicated labours. Five dominant themes influencing location of delivery were identified: perceptions of a normal delivery; motivations encouraging health facility delivery; deterrents preventing health facility deliveries; decision-making processes; and level of knowledge and health education. Understanding the socio-cultural determinants that influence the location of delivery has implications for service provision. Alongside timely health education and maximising the contact between women and healthcare professionals, these determinants should be actively incorporated into maternal newborn and child health policy and programming in ways that encourage the utilisation of health facilities, even for routine deliveries.