Planned Home Births versus Hospital Births: Are More Babies Being Born At Home?
Aug. 13, 2015
A recent uptick in planned home births over the last decade has many expectant mothers wondering, âIs a home birth right for me?â During a home birth, the mother gives birth at home rather than in a hospital or birth center. Generally, a midwife assists the mother during labor and delivery, although in some cases a nurse or doctor may also be present. While both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists state âhospitals and birthing centers are the safest settings for birth in the United States,â the groups say they ârespect the right of women to make a medically informed decision about delivery.â
HOW MANY WOMEN GIVE BIRTH AT HOME?New CDC data shows the rate of home births is indeed on the rise, albeit slowly, according to a 2014 report in Time Magazine. Still, the vast majority of women are choosing to give birth in a hospital. The rate of home births rose from 1.26% in 2011 to 1.36% in 2012. The majority of births occurring outside a hospital are also low-risk: theyâre more likely to be full term with a safe birth weight. Higher risk births, like multiple births or births to women under the age of 20, are more likely to occur in a hospital. This data underscores the fact that women who are choosing to give birth at home are doing so, in part, because they have low-risk pregnancies; women with higher risk pregnancies or who are at risk for complications continue to choose a hospital setting. Home births are rising primarily among non-Hispanic white women. One of the challenges in understanding this change in birthing patterns is that women who plan to give birth at home, but ultimately transfer to a hospital, arenât always accounted for in this data. Neither are women who plan to give birth in a hospital but end up delivering at home, often due to circumstances outside their control, like the baby arriving much faster than anticipated.
WHY DO WOMEN PLAN A HOME BIRTH?According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many factors that might influence a womanâs decision for a home birth, including:
- A desire to give birth in a familiar, safe and relaxing setting
- A desire to wear oneâs own clothes during labor and birth
- A desire to be surrounded by people of oneâs choice
- A desire to give birth with minimal to no medical intervention
- A desire to control the labor position or other aspects of the birthing process