home births are quite rare and are not supported as part of mainstream health care services in most European countries. Women who choose home as the place of birth often do so because maternity services in hospitals do not offer the options that they want. The aim of the present study is to describe women's experiences of giving birth at home and to produce a comprehensive structure of meaning regarding giving birth at home.
a phenomenological study based on analysis of open-interview transcripts using Colaizzi's approach.
women who gave birth at home FINDINGS: women who have given birth at home experience having control over their own body, the care they are given, and the practical arrangements surrounding the birth. However, they also experience negative attitudes from other people about their decision to give birth at home, and challenges because of worries about how they and their baby will cope. During the birth women feel a sense of connection to their own body, which they trust to tell them what to do. They experience great happiness on successfully giving birth and feel connected to nature and the circle of life. Being able to celebrate with family members and be pampered by them after the birth made the women feel 'like queens'.
women's experience of childbirth at home is one of having control over the birthing process and its environment. The main challenge is exposure to negative attitudes from others, including health care professionals. Overall, the experience was full of happiness and good feelings. We conclude that more attention should be paid to the quality of birth experiences and women's individual needs and wishes within maternity care provision.