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Midwifery. 2015 Jan;31(1):31-6. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2014.05.006. Epub 2014 Jun 6.

The relationship between frequency of obstetric ultrasound scans and birthplace preference--a case control study.

Author information

  • 1Health Psychology Research Group, UCL Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HB, UK. Electronic address: james.m.harris@kcl.ac.uk.
  • 2Department of Family Health Care Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, USA.
  • 3Institute of Women׳s Health, UCLH, UK.
  • 4Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, UCL, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

to investigate the relationship between frequency of ultrasounds and birthplace preference.

STUDY DESIGN:

retrospective case-control study with the number of ultrasounds as the exposure and the pregnant woman's preference to give birth in a low-technology setting (midwifery-led unit or home) or a high-technology setting (obstetric unit) as the primary outcome.

SAMPLE AND SETTING:

low-risk primigravid women receiving antenatal care at a central London academic medical centre.

MEASUREMENTS:

antenatal ultrasound frequency; birthplace preference at the initial pregnancy appointment (T1) and at the commencement of labour (T2); demographic data including ethnicity, index of multiple deprivation, age, and body mass index.

FINDINGS:

1100 cases were reviewed. Women received an average of 4.03 ultrasounds during their pregnancy (SD=1.96, range 2-14). The frequency of ultrasounds for women who had a low-technology T2 birthplace preference was significantly lower than for those who had a high-technology T2 birthplace preference (t=2.98, df=1098, p=0.003, r=0.1), and women who had a constant low-technology birthrate preference had significantly less ultrasounds than other women (F (3,644)=3.475, p=.02). However, within a logistic regression the frequency of ultrasound was not associated with T2 birthplace preference, after controlling for T1 birthplace preference.

KEY CONCLUSIONS:

the findings of this investigation suggest that a preference made early in pregnancy is a greater predictor of birthplace preference than exposure to antenatal ultrasounds.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:

further research is required to inform interventions that would encourage low-risk pregnant women to select a low-technology place of birth.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

Low-risk pregnancy; Medicalisation; Place of birth choice; Ultrasound frequency

PMID:
24975783
[PubMed - in process]
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