1Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Zahedan, IR Iran
2Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran
3Department of Demography and Population Studies, Faculty of Social Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, IR Iran
Background In Zahedan City in Southeast Iran, some women prefer to give birth at home despite the availability of the equipped hospitals and expert advice that hospital births are safer. Objectives This study explains how Baloch women make decisions regarding the risks associated with childbirth at home versus a hospital. This study identifies and defines the factors that influence the choice of the place of delivery by Baloch women. Materials and Methods The article draws on data from a grounded theory. In particular, on in-depth interviews with 25 Baloch women, 21 of whom had planned home births and 4 planned hospital births in their most recent childbirth. Results Six categories emerged from the data as follows: 1) deliberation and risk assessment; 2) obstacles to hospital births; 3) preference for hospital births; 4) obstacles to homebirth; 5) preference for homebirth; and 6) risk management. The core category was deliberation and risk assessment. Our interviews showed that Baloch woman weighed the negative and positive aspects of each option when deciding on a childbirth setting. In this process, their assessment of risk included physical wellbeing and social-cultural values. Furthermore, their assessment of risk can, in some circumstances, result in delays or avoidance of having hospital childbirth. Conclusions Managers and service providers need to know an ordinary woman’s perception of risk to address the gap between current and desired childbirth services and encourage women to use current hospital services.