OBJECTIVE: The objective of this overview was to investigate the current situation regarding guidelines and praxis for planned homebirths and also to investigate possibilities for comparative studies on planned homebirths in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden). DESIGN AND SETTING: National documents on homebirth and midwifery and recommendations regarding management and registration of planned homebirths in the included countries were investigated. FINDINGS: Guidelines regarding planned home birth were found in four of the included countries. In Denmark any woman has the right to be attended by a midwife during a homebirth and each county council must present a plan for the organization of birth services, including homebirth services. In Norway and Iceland the service is fully or partly funded by taxes and national guidelines are available but access to a midwife attending the birth varies geographically. In the Stockholm County Council guidelines have been developed for publicly funding of planned home births; for the rest of Sweden no national guidelines have been formulated and the service is privately funded. KEY CONCLUSION: Inconsistencies in the home birth services of the Nordic countries imply different opportunities for midwifery care to women with regard to their preferred place of birth. Uniform sociodemography, health care systems and cultural context in the Nordic countries are factors in favour of further research to compare and aggregate data on planned home births in this region. Additional data collection is needed since national registers do not sufficiently cover the planned place of birth.
Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare : Official Journal of the Swedish Association of Midwives, 2014, Vol 5, Issue 1, p. 3-8
Journal Article; Review; Delivery of Health Care; Female; Finland; Guidelines as Topic; Home Childbirth; Humans; Iceland; Midwifery; Pregnancy; Scandinavian and Nordic Countries