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This article is the author’s final published version in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, Volume 20, Issue 1, January 2020, Article number 30.

The published version is available at Copyright © Naanyu et al.


BACKGROUND: In urban Kenya, couples face a wide variety of choices for delivery options; however, many women end up delivering in different facilities from those they had intended while pregnant. One potential consequence of this is delivering in facilities that do not meet minimum quality standards and lack the capacity to provide treatment for obstetric and neonatal complications.

METHODS: This study investigated why women in peri-urban Nairobi, Kenya deliver in facilities they had not intended to use. We used 60 in-depth audio-recorded interviews in which mothers shared their experiences 2-6 months after delivery. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize socio-demographic characteristics of participants. Qualitative data were analyzed in three steps i) exploration and generation of initial codes; ii) searching for themes by gathering coded data that addressed specific themes; and iii) defining and naming identified themes. Verbatim excerpts from participants were provided to illustrate study findings. The Health Belief Model was used to shed light on individual-level drivers of delivery location choice.

RESULTS: Findings show a confluence of factors that predispose mothers to delivering in unintended facilities. At the individual level, precipitate labor, financial limitations, onset of pain, complications, changes in birth plans, undisclosed birth plans, travel during pregnancy, fear of health facility providers, misconception of onset of labor, wrong estimate of delivery date, and onset of labor at night, contributed to delivery at unplanned locations. On the supply side, the sudden referral to other facilities, poor services, wrong projection of delivery date, and long distance to chosen delivery facility, were factors in changes in delivery location. Lack of transport discouraged delivery at a chosen health facility. Social influences included others' perspectives on delivery location and lack of aides/escorts.

CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study suggest that manifold factors contribute to the occurrence of women delivering in facilities that they had not intended during pregnancy. Future studies should consider whether these changes in delivery location late in pregnancy contribute to late facility arrival and the use of lower quality facilities. Deliberate counseling during antenatal care regarding birth plans is likely to encourage timely arrival at facilities consistent with women's preferences.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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