An evaluation of a midwife-operated community birthing center was conducted to identify whether it would be safe, cost-effective, and psychologically and socially satisfying for Inuit women in one community in the Northwest Territories. Two nurse-midwives provided antenatal and postnatal care to all pregnant women and delivered those designated as 'low risk' for complications. Another community similar in size but with no community birthing was used for comparison of the three indices. Data were gathered on reproductive histories and pregnancy risk profiles of all women giving birth in a one-year period. The financial costs were calculated for those women transferred out to hospital for delivery and compared with those who stayed in the community. Pregnant women and their partners in both communities, health staff, and community members were interviewed for their feelings and concerns about the birthing services. Preliminary findings suggest that with experienced midwives community births are safe. A minimum of 25 births is required in the community for this project to be cost effective. The women who had their infants in the community expressed satisfaction for a number of reasons.
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