Saturday, May 12, 2012

Summer Research into Maternity Homes

I am participating in the first Summer Externship in Translational Research & Bioethics created by Medical Students for Life to train pro-life future physicians to engage in ethical research that furthers a culture of life. I'm very excited to work Dr. D, a pro-life OB/GYN in my area who performed abortions in the past. At the same time, I'm going to research maternity homes (unless Dr. D's research interests change my topic slightly, which would be fine). I want to determine how maternity homes can be made more accessible and attractive to abortion-vulnerable women.

Below the jump is my brainstorming of ideas and initial steps. 

Here are my plans. I'm going to start today!

  1. Contact maternity homes throughout the country: what do they offer, how?
  2. Evaluate current maternity home residents: they chose to live in a maternity home—why?
  3. Evaluate communities with no maternity homes available vs. communities with maternity homes (maternity homes differ, so may have some exclusion criteria?). Variables:
    1. Birth rate
      1. Teen
      2. Parents unmarried
    2. Population demographics of community or sub-community (of pregnant women)
      1. SE status (measured by income? Difficult in students)
      2. Age
      3. Race
      4. Religion
      5. Social hx (e.g. two parents?)
      6. Education
    3. Abortion rate/ratio
  4. Evaluate target audience’s perceptions of maternity homes (target audience=women most vulnerable to abortion if they became pregnant tomorrow)
    1. Assess women most vulnerable to abortion: who gets the most abortions?
    2. Administer evaluation: survey, interviews, or combination?
      1. Surveys:
        1. Pros:
          1. Easy to calculate numbers!
          2. Easy to disseminate (online, on campuses, by emails…)
          3. Faster
        2. Cons:
          1. Limited
          2. Selection bias by respondees
      2. Interviews:
        1. Pros: get more information (Right Brained Way)
        2. Cons:
          1. Expense (time for interviewer, interviewee; incentives?)
          2. Difficult to standardize
    3. Ultimately: ask what would the ideal maternity home be like or, what would it take for you to choose a maternity home over abortion?
  5. Evaluate elements identified in 4C among maternity homes in this country to identify any already-established model homes. Lay out discrete recommendations to follow these models.
Foreseeable problems: availability of data, time commitment and personal bias. Weigh in with suggestions, references, connections, and other ideas!


  1. Do you have a paper or any insights that you would like to share on maternity homes? We are looking for information!


    1. Dear Mary,
      Thank you for contacting me! looks amazing, I'm so glad you're working on this. Unfortunately my research project ended up being very different from what I'd hoped, and I didn't accomplish what I set out in this post. At this time, it doesn't look like I'll be able to work on this in the next year or two of my education. I am sorry! But I am encouraged by your good work. I worked with Heart Beat international in college (a pregnancy help center) and was astounded by the depth and sensitivity of their training and work with women. God reward you!