Syrian Women’s Preferences for Birth Attendant and Birth Place, Birth; 32:20-26, 2005.

Background: Women’s preferences for type of maternity caregiver and birth place have gained importance and have been documented in studies reported from the developed world. The purpose of our study was to identify Syrian women’s preferences for birth attendant and place of delivery. Methods: Interviews with 500 women living in Damascus and its suburbs were conducted using a pretested structured questionnaire. Women were asked about their preferences for the birth attendant and place of delivery, and an open-ended question asked them to give an explanation for their preferences. We analyzed preferences and their determinants, and also agreement between actual and preferred place of delivery and birth attendant. Results: Only a small minority of women (5-10 %) had no preference. Most (65.8 %) preferred to give birth at the hospital, and 60.4 percent preferred to be attended by doctors compared with midwives (21.2 %). More than 85 percent of women preferred the obstetrician to be a female. The actual place of delivery and type of birth attendant did not match the preferred place of delivery and type of birth attendant. Women’s reasons for preferences were a perception of safety and competence, and communication style of caregiver. Conclusions: Most women preferred to be delivered by female doctors at a hospital in this population sample in Syria. The findings suggest that proper understanding of women’s preferences is needed, and steps should be taken to enable women to make good choices. Policies about maternity education and services should take into account women’s preferences.
Author(s): Hyam Bashour , Asma Abdul Salam  
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