News & Commentary

More births occurring at home

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 ( “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


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