Contraindications in planned home birth in Iceland: A retrospective cohort study

Berglind Halfdansdottir, Ingegerd Hildingsson, Alexander Kristinn Smárason, Herdis Sveinsdottir, Olof A. Olafsdottir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Icelandic national guidelines on place of birth list contraindications for home birth. Few studies have examined the effect of contraindication on home birth, and none have done so in Iceland. The aim of this study was to examine whether contraindications affect the outcome of planned home birth or have a different effect at home than in hospital. Methods The study is a retrospective cohort study on the effect of contraindications for home birth on the outcome of planned home (n = 307) and hospital (n = 921) birth in 2005–2009. Outcomes were described for four different groups of women, by exposure to contraindications (unexposed vs. exposed) and planned place of birth (hospital vs. home). Linear and logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the effect of the contraindications under study and to detect interactions between contraindications and planned place of birth. Results The key findings of the study were that contraindications were related to higher rates of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes, regardless of place of birth; women exposed to contraindications had higher rates of adverse outcomes in planned home birth; and healthy, unexposed women had higher rates of adverse outcomes in planned hospital birth. Contraindications significantly increased the risk of transfer in labour and postpartum haemorrhage in planned home births. Conclusion The defined contraindications for home birth had a negative effect on maternal and neonatal outcomes in Iceland, regardless of place of birth. The study results do not contradict the current national guidelines on place of birth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalSexual and Reproductive Healthcare
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from The Icelandic Research Fund for Graduate Students (no. 121149-0061 ), the Memorial Fund for Midwife Bjorg Magnusdottir and Farmer Magnus Jonasson , the Icelandic Midwives’ Association’s Research Fund , and the Ingibjorg R. Magnusdottir Research Fund . The funding bodies had no involvement in the design or execution of the study. The authors would like to thank Dr. Gunnar Stefansson and Hrefna Hjartardottir for statistical assistance, and Neal O’Donoghue for proofreading. The authors disclose no conflict of interests.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.

Other keywords

  • Contraindications
  • Home childbirth
  • Midwifery
  • Pregnancy outcome


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