Evaluation of Birth-Centre Care

The project 'Evaluation of Birth-Centre Care in the Netherlands' (ZonMw 209020012) is being carried out as a collaboration between Erasmus University Medical Center, the Netherlands Institute for Health Services (NIVEL), the Jan van Es Institute, Tilburg University, the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and TNO.

The aim of the study is to assess the quality of birth-centre care and the contribution of the centres to the quality of obstetric care.

Birth centres are 'in'. This is because the number of women who want to give birth at home is falling, and hospitals cannot meet the increased demand for maternity beds. Birth centres provide a more homely environment in which women can give birth with the assistance of a midwife. If complications arise, the hospital is close by. Birth centres, some of which are affiliated to hospitals, are therefore a good interim solution. This means that supportive postnatal care can begin earlier, and the centres can provide that are often not possible in the case of hospital births assisted by a midwife, such as overnight accommodation for partners. These aspects may help to improve care and perinatal outcomes. However, a well-founded vision for the role of birth centres within the system of obstetric care is lacking, as is insight into their added value, cost and how they are valued by users.

The 3-year research project 'Evaluation of Birth-Centre Care in the Netherlands' focuses on how birth centres have affected the quality and structure of care provision, the experiences of clients and care providers, and the care outcomes and cost. The study will also look at the implications for the further introduction of birth centres in the Netherlands.

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