Home Births Reach Highest Number in 40 Years

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

ATLANTA (AP) -- Home births have risen to their highest level in about four decades.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a little more than 1 percent of U.S. births occur at home, still just a fraction of all births.

In the 20th century, births shifted from homes to hospitals, and out-of-hospital deliveries were down to 1 percent by 1969.

But around 2004, they began inching up again and reached about 1.36 percent in 2012. That translates to about 35,000 births in homes and another 16,000 in freestanding, birthing centers.

T.J. Mathews, one of the authors of the report, says while more birthing centers have opened, perhaps the main driver is an increase in out-of-hospital births involving white mothers, with 1 in 49 delivering outside hospitals. For Hispanic, black and Asian mothers, it's around 1 in 200.

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