Should I stay or should I go? Consistency and switching of delivery locations among new mothers in 39 Sub-Saharan African and South/Southeast Asian countries

Lenka Benova, David Macleod, Emma Radovich, Caroline A Lynch, Oona M R Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


The objective of this article is to assess the extent and determinants of switching delivery location between women's first and second deliveries. We used Demographic and Health Survey data from 39 low- and middle-income countries on delivery locations from >30 000 women who had their first two deliveries in the 5-year survey recall period. Each delivery was characterized as occurring at home or in a health facility, facilities were classified as public- or private-sector. The extent of switching was estimated for each country, region and overall. Multivariable logistic regression models assessed determinants of switching (home to facility or facility to home), using four dimensions (perceived/biological need, socioeconomic characteristics, utilization of care and availability of care). Overall, 49.0% of first and 44.5% of second deliveries occurred in health facilities. Among women who had their first delivery at home, 11.8% used a facility for their second (7.0% public-sector and 4.8% private-sector). Among women who had their first delivery in a facility, 21.6% switched to a home location for their second. The extent of switching varied by country; but the overall net effect was either non-existent (n = 20) or away from facilities (n = 17) in all but two countries-Cambodia and Burkina Faso. Four factors were associated with switching to a facility after a home delivery: higher education, urban residence, non-poor household status and multiple gestation. Majority of women consistently used the same delivery location for their first two deliveries. We found some evidence that where switching occurred, women were being lost from facility care during this important transition, and that all four included dimensions were important determinants of women's pattern of delivery care use. The relative importance of these factors should be understood in each specific context to improve retention in and provision of quality intrapartum care for women and their newborns.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1294-1308
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Asia
  • Choice Behavior
  • Delivery, Obstetric/statistics & numerical data
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Home Childbirth/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Preference
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Multiple
  • Social Class


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