An Update on Research Issues in the Assessment of Birth Settings - Workshop Summary


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More than 30 years ago, the IOM and the National Research Council released the report Research Issues in the Assessment of Birth Settings which determined methodologies and research needed to evaluate childbirth settings in the United States. Since the release of the report in 1982, the issues surrounding birth settings have evolved. The demographic and health trends of childbirth have changed; birth setting trends have changed, including a growing but still very small percentage of women choosing to deliver at home; more and different types of data are available now than were available 30 years ago; and researchers are asking different questions than they did three decades ago.

On March 6-7, 2013, the IOM held a workshop to review updates to the 1982 report. Presentations and discussions highlighted research findings that advance understanding of the effects of maternal care services in different birth settings, including hospitals, birth centers and homes; on labor, clinical and other birth procedures; and birth outcomes. The workshop also identified datasets and relevant research literature that may inform a future study. This document summarizes the workshop.