Home births rose almost 30% in US from 2004-2009

USA Today reports, “Births taking place outside of the traditional hospital setting increased 29 percent between 2004 and 2009, from 0.56 percent of all births to 0.72 percent – almost 30,000 births – according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

“The report uses data from the National Vital Statistics System, Natality Data Files for 1990 to 2009, which include all births in the United States, with a range of demographic and health information on mothers and their infants.”

Bloomberg News reports that home births “were most common among non-Hispanic white women, where about 1 in 90 births are at home, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Also, women ages 35 and older who already had children were more likely than others to have chosen a birth at home rather than a hospital. … Fewer babies born outside a hospital were to unmarried mothers or teenagers, the report said.

In addition, the babies were less likely to be preterm, low birth weight or multiple births, which suggests that home birth attendants are screening women, preferring those who were low risk.

The Los Angeles Times “Booster Shot” blog adds, “The northwestern part of the country has the strongest trend in home births – 2% in Oregon and 2.6% in Montana. The sheer lack of transportation in rural areas may play a significant role in home births in some areas, the authors of the report stated. Cost might be a factor too, because home births are about one-third the cost of hospital births.”

WebMD reports, “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association do not support planned home births because they find the practice risky.”

WedMD adds, “Women who wish to have a home birth should be full term, not have any blood pressure issues during pregnancy, and should be well nourished. The baby should be growing well and ideally have its head facing downward.”

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