The National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control, recently released some new numbers showing that more women are choosing to have their babies at home. While the number of home births went down from 2004 to 2009, the CDC saw an uptick of about 29 percent from 2004 to 2009, the latest year for which they have figures. The number was even higher for white women; about 1 in every 90 births for a non-Hispanic white woman is a home birth. The rate declined, though, among all other ethnicities and races.
Home births still represent a tiny fraction of all births – which overwhelmingly happen at a hospital – but it is the most home-based deliveries since the researchers started tracking these numbers in 1989.
- Birthing at home is more common among women who are 35 or older with several previous children
- In spite of the common belief that giving birth at home is more dangerous (and for some groups it can be), the CDC data said that “home births have a lower risk profile than hospital births, with fewer births to teenagers or unmarried women, and with fewer preterm, low birthweight, and multiple births.” Says the CDC report, “The lower risk profile of home births suggests that home birth attendants are selecting low-risk women as candidates for home birth.”
- Most home births are attended by midwives; just 5 percent were attended by physicians.
- The states with the lowest home birth rate were Louisiana and the District of Columbia, while Oregon (2.0% of all births) and Montana (2.6%) had the highest rates. Regionally, the rate was higher in the northwestern U.S. and lower in the southeastern U.S.
Have you thought about how where you'd like to deliver your baby, once you're pregnant?