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Safety during birth has improved since hospital delivery became standard practice, but the process has also become increasingly medicalised. Hence, recent years have witnessed a growing interest in home births due to the advantages it offers to mothers and their newborn infants. The aims of the present study were to confirm the transition from a home birth model of care to a scenario in which deliveries began to occur almost exclusively in a hospital setting; to define the social networks surrounding home births; and to determine whether geography exerted any influence on the social networks surrounding home births. Adopting a qualitative approach, we recruited 19 women who had given birth at home in the mid 20th century in a rural area in Spain. We employed a social network analysis method. Our results revealed three essential aspects that remain relevant today: the importance of health professionals in home delivery care, the importance of the mother's primary network, and the influence of the geographical location of the actors involved in childbirth. All of these factors must be taken into consideration when developing strategies for maternal health.
social network analysis; home birth; midwife; ethnography; history