Only a small number of births occur outside the hospital, but the number has been rising lately, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db144.pdf). “If this increase continues, it has the potential to affect patterns of facility usage, clinician training, and resource allocation, as well as health care costs,” says the study.
Out-of-hospital births for non-Hispanic white women are two to four times as prevalent as for any other racial or ethnic group. Again, we’re talking about a relatively small number: 35,184 babies were born at home in 2012, which was 0.89% of all births that year.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics say that giving birth in a hospital or birthing center is the safest option.
However, women at higher risk of having problem deliveries — such as teen mothers, and women 35 or over — tend to go to the hospital. This perhaps suggests that physicians and other providers do a good job of outlining the risks to those patients considering having their babies at home, says the study.
Risk profile for out-of-hospital births, 2004 and 2012
Of all out-of-hospital births, the percentage in each of five risk categories
Source: “Trends in Out-of-Hospital Births in the United States, 1990–2012,” National Center for Health Statistics, March 2014