Less or more? Maternal requests that go against medical advice

Martine Hollander, Lianne Holten, Annemieke Leusink, Jeroen van Dillen, Esteriek de Miranda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Problem and background: This study explores the experiences of Dutch midwives and gynaecologists with pregnant women who request more, less or no care during pregnancy and/or childbirth. Methods: All Dutch midwives and (trainee) gynaecologists were invited to fill out a questionnaire specifically designed for the purposes of this study. Holistic midwives were analysed separately from regular community midwives. Findings: Most maternity care providers in the Netherlands receive requests for less care than recommended at least once a year. The most frequently maternal requests were declining testing for gestational diabetes (66.3%), opting for a home birth in case of a high risk pregnancy (65.3%), and declining foetal monitoring during labour (39.6%). Holistic midwives are more convinced of an increasing demand for less care than community midwives (73.1% vs. 35.2%, p = <0.001). More community midwives than hospital staff reported to have declined one or more request for less care than recommended (48.6% vs. 27.9%, p = <0.001). The majority of hospital staff also receive at least one request for an elective caesarean section every year. Discussion and conclusion: Requests for more and less care than indicated during pregnancy and childbirth are equally prevalent in this study. However, a request for less care is more likely to be declined than a request for more care. Counselling women who disagree with their care provider demands time. In case of requests for less care, second best care should be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-512
JournalWomen and birth
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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