Trends and motivations for freebirth: A scoping review

Shorey, Shefaly, Jarašiūnaitė‐Fedosejeva, Gabija, Akik, Burcu Kömürcü, Holopainen, Annaleena, Isbir, Gozde Gokce, Chua, Jing Shi, Wayt, Carly, Downe, Soo orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2848-2550 and Lalor, Joan (2023) Trends and motivations for freebirth: A scoping review. Birth . ISSN 0730-7659

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL:


Even when maternity care facilities are available, some women will choose to give birth unassisted by a professional (freebirth). This became more apparent during the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), as women were increasingly concerned they would contract the virus in health care facilities. Several studies have identified the factors that influence women to seek alternative places of birth to hospitals, but research focusing specifically on freebirth is limited.

Eight databases were searched from their respective inception dates to April 2022 for studies related to freebirth. Data from the studies were charted and a thematic analysis was subsequently conducted.

Four themes were identified based on findings from the 25 included studies: (1) Geographical and socio-demographic determinants influencing freebirth, (2) Reasons for choosing freebirth, (3) Factors hindering freebirth, and (4) Preparation for and varied experiences of freebirth.

More women chose to give birth unassisted in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) compared with high-income countries (HICs). Overall, motivation for freebirth included previous negative birth experiences with health care professionals, a desire to adhere to their birth-related beliefs, and fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus. Included studies reported that study participants were often met with negative responses when they revealed that they were planning to freebirth. Most women in the included studies had positive freebirth experiences. Future research should explore the different motivators of freebirth present in LMICs or HICs to help inform effective policies that may improve birth experiences while maintaining safety.

Repository Staff Only: item control page