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Home Birth Rate Grows by 29%

cdc mediumIn 2012, the Center for Disease Control released a study that indicated that home birth increased by nearly a third during the past half-decade. The study summarized that "After 14 years of decline, the percentage of home births rose by 29% from 2004 to 2009, to the point where it is at the highest level since data on this item began to be collected in 1989. The overall increase in home births was driven mostly by a 36% increase for non-Hispanic white women. About 1 out of every 90 births to non-Hispanic white women are now home births. The percentage of home births for non-Hispanic white women was three to five times higher than for any other racial or ethnic group."

A century ago, only about 1% of births were in hospitals, and the trend moving toward hospital births continued for 100 years reversing in 2004.

Home Birth Stronger in Some States

The Northwestern states lead the US in home births with most states delivering over 1.5% of babies at home, while in Arizona is still at less than 1%.  Recent efforts by the state of Arizona to modernize their midwife licensing and adopt national standards are expected to increase the rate of home births in Arizona.  The chart below illustrates the percentage of home birth's by state:

map-homebirth-bystate-575w

Home Birth is a Family Option

84% of women delivering babies at home in 2009 were married compared to 58% in a hospital setting.  Additionally, over half of babies delivered at home are the third or later child, and a quarter of hospital births.  This data suggests that in most cases, home birth is a family-oriented event.

chart-homebirth-bytype-575w Home Births are Lower Risk

There is certainly some debate about why home births are lower risk than hospital births.  This report suggests that midwives are selecting lower-risk profiled patients, and it is certainly true that most midwives would refer a high-risk delivery to a hospital.  Many home birth advocates, however, would say that the reason that home births have half the pre-term delivery rate and half the incidence of low birthweight is due in large part to the model of personalized care and prenatal health advocacy and practices employed by familes and midwives involved in home birth.

chart-homebirth-byrisk-575w

Click on any of the images above to see a larger version.

The link to the full report is here: www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db84.pdf