Family decision-making about place of birth among people living in Indian slums

indian slum

A new study of people living in slums in India – 80 interviews with recent mothers, husbands and mothers-in-law – found high involvement of family members in decision-making about where to give birth. A mother typically makes decisions with her husband, or mother-in-law, or both.

There are 100 million slum dwellers in India.

Though the sample was small, 40 mothers only, the researchers noted that where mothers-in-law were more involved, birth was more likely to be in the home.

Other factors found to influence the choice of birthplace were perceived quality of the healthcare facility, with a particular concern about disrespectful and abusive treatment, the costs of attending a facility, and the existence of health complications on the part of the mother.

The authors conclude that families need to be educated about their rightful expectations of maternal healthcare facilities, and that all family decision-makers should be included in this.


Sudhinaraset M, Beyeler N, Barge S & Diamond-Smith N (2016), Decision-making for delivery location and quality of care among slum-dwellers: a qualitative study in Uttar Pradesh, India, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

Photo: Adam Cohn. Creative Commons.