Background and Aims A recent Government policy drive is to increase home delivery rates. Data are lacking about whether this strategy is embraced by perinatal healthcare professionals. Our aim was to examine opinions regarding home deliveries held by consultant paediatricians, neonatologists, gynaecologists, obstetricians, GPs and midwives.
Methods Cross-sectional survey of UK professionals in East Anglia. Likert scales ranging from 0–10 assessed professionals’ general experiences of and enthusiasm for home birthing and support for the Government’s plan.
Results 52% of professionals responded, including 68% of Paediatricians. Paediatricians and Neonatologists generally reported negative experiences of home delivery and were considerably less enthusiastic regarding home deliveries than any other professionals.
Paediatricans generally held a negative outlook on home delivery [median 4, IQ 3–5] and were in opposition to the government’s plan [median 3, IQ 2–5], whilst midwives were more enthusiastic about home delivery than any other profession [median 9, IQ 8–10, p<0.0001] and were more likely to support the government plan to increase the rate of home deliveries [median 8.5, IQ 7–10, p<0.0001]. GP’s, obstetricians and gynaecologists tended to give more neutral or negative opinions towards home birth [GP (median 5, IQ 3–7.5) ObGyn (median 5, IQ 2–7)] and towards the government’s plan [GP (median 5, IQ 2–6) ObGyn (median 5, IQ 2–5)].
Conclusions Negative experiences and opinions of perinatal healthcare professionals regarding home delivery may adversely affect its uptake by women and will need to be addressed if the Government’s plan to increase home delivery rates is to succeed.