Exploring the perceptions of women about childbirth at home or at the birthing centers in Karachi, Pakistan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MScN)


School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan


Childbirth is a natural process in which women have options to choose the place of birth. Worldwide, the number of out of hospital births that is home births (HBs) or birthing centre births (BCs) is increasing. In Pakistan many women have contacted AKU to provide out of hospital birth services; therefore, the midwifery team of Aga Khan University has initiated a larger study, and I have chosen a small section from it. This study aims to explore women's perceptions about childbirth at home or at the BCs in Karachi, Pakistan. Eight low risk women, having no medical and obstetrical complications, were selected. A semi-structured interview guide was used for data collection, and in-depth interviews were conducted in the Urdu language. Interviews were audio recorded, and transcripts were transcribed in Urdu. Then, for the purpose of analysis, the data was translated into the English language. The analysis of the data was done by using the steps given by Creswell (2013). As a result of the data analysis five major themes emerged: (1) satisfaction with BC, (2) provision of homely environment, (3) promotion of normalcy, (4) facilitation of family support, and (5) protection of privacy. The overall findings revealed that the women had a feeling of satisfaction with the midwifery care for HBs or BC births. Most women appreciated the competencies and expertise of midwives. A majority of the women acknowledged the continuous support of midwives and their involvement in decision making for their care plan. Most of the women also appreciated the privacy offered at the BCs. They considered BCs as a safe, accessible, and affordable option for childbirth and encouraged others in the community to opt for it. The findings of this study point out implications for midwifery education, clinical practice, policy makers, and research. Furthermore, this study provides strong recommendations for the promotion of births at BCs; in addition, it also strongly advocates for formal midwifery education and research.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library