Home Births Up 20 Percent Since 2004

home_birthCiting concerns about high rates of Cesarean sections and other medical interventions, the impersonal nature of hospitals, and negative past experiences in hospitals, the number of women who are choosing to birth their babies at home rose twenty percent between 2004 and 2008, according to a report released in May by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In 2008, just over 28,000 home births took place at home, which still only accounts for less than one percent of total US births.  But the rise in numbers over recent years is unmistakable.

The Associated Press reports:

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which certifies OB-GYNs, warns that home births can be unsafe, especially if the mother has high-risk conditions, if a birth attendant is inadequately trained and if there’s no nearby hospital in case of emergency. Some doctors also question whether a “feminist machoism” is at play in wanting to give birth at home.

But home birthers say they want to be free of drugs, fetal monitors, IVs and pressure to hurry their labor at the behest of doctors and hospitals. They prefer to labor in tubs of water or on hands and knees, walk around their living rooms or take comfort in their own beds, surrounded by loved ones as they listen to music or hypnosis recordings with the support of midwives and doulas. Some even go without midwives and rely on husbands or other non-professionals for support.

The article goes on to say that in 1900, an estimated 95 percent of births took place at home.  By 1935, that number had dropped to half of all births, and by 1955, less than one percent of mothers had home births.

A 2005 study found that 88 percent of home births in the US and Canada had positive outcomes, while 12 percent of women were transferred to hospitals–9 percent for preventative reasons, 3 percent for emergencies.  That study also showed the infant mortality rate was 2 out of every 1,000 births, about the same as hospitals.

(image via: http://www.pinenutoil.org/)

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  1. by Jessica

    On July 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I think these statistics are just proving what a lot women and midwifes already know. Women are more comfortable in their regular surroundings. It helps them to relax and comfort the woman therefore creating a positive birth experience. I am not saying home birth is for everyone. Its not. There are such things as high risk pregnancies and births can become complicated. An experienced, trained midwife should be present at every birth. The shortest route to the hospital should be memorized by mother, partner, and midwife. Hospitals can make birth more dangerous as far as I am concerned. Every doctor is only out for him/her self whether that selfishness be through his/her time or his/her wanting more experience with, for example, forceps. Its ridiculous that women have to be afraid of their doctors. All medical standards should be the same whether with doctor or midwife. Women should be able to have the secure feeling of the hospital and its ability to treat an emergency and still get the same natural, unhurried care of a midwife. I believe that a birth experience affects parenting, breastfeeding, and the rest of women’s lives.

  2. by Jillian

    On August 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    ‘feminist machoism’?! What does that mean and who is saying that? That’s definitely the dumbest thing I’ve read in while…..

  3. [...] Home births are on the rise (Parents.com) [...]