Otago Polytechnic
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Place of birth

Associate Professor Sally Baddock and Professor Sally Pairman

The environments women choose to give birth in have a significant impact on the rates of intervention in labour and the type of births they will have.

These are the findings of a recent study conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers that included Otago Polytechnic School of Midwifery Co-Head, Associate Professor Sally Baddock, and Director of Learning and Teaching and Head of Midwifery,

Baddock’s and Pairman’s exploration of New Zealand’s model of midwifery care, published in the prestigious Birth journal in June 2011, provided a unique opportunity to investigate the impact of the place of birth for women and their babies.

The research showed that women at low risk of complications, who give birth in a tertiary hospital rather than a primary birthing unit, are four and a half times more likely to have an emergency caesarean section. Those in secondary hospitals were more than three times more likely to have a Caesarean section.

“It is important that maternity caregivers explore factors that may assist them to better support women and encourage physiological birth where appropriate, including making more use of primary birthing units.”

Davis, D. Baddock, S. Pairman, S. Hunter, M, Benn, C, Wilson, D, Dixon, L & Herbison, P. (2011) Planned Place of Birth in New Zealand: Does it Affect Mode of Birth and Intervention Rates among Low-Risk Women? Birth, 38:2, June 2011, 111–119.