- More babies are being born outside of hospitals in the U.S., a new study shows.
- From 2004 to 2014, out-of-hospital births rose from less than 1% to 1.5%, Reuters reported.
- The majority of women giving birth outside a hospital were white women.
In 2014, nearly 60,000 births occurred outside hospitals — or one in 44 births to non-Hispanic white women. Of those, 38,000 were at home and 18,000 in birthing centers. All but 10% of home births were planned.
Mothers who gave birth outside the hospital tended to be college graduates, nonsmokers and in better physical shape than those who delivered their babies in hospitals, the researchers found.
Moreover, two-thirds of home births were paid out of pocket, versus fewer than 50% in birthing centers and 5% in hospitals.
The trend suggests women want more control over the birthing experience. Currently, one in three U.S. births is by caesarian section and many more are induced or involve interventions such as internal fetal heart rate monitors.
The study did not look at mortality. However, lead author Marian MacDorman, of the University of Maryland’s Population Research Center, told Reuters that serious complications generally occur in less than 1% of births, regardless of location.
She said midwives typically screen prospective clients to winnow out high-risk births, which should be performed in a hospital. The study was published in the journal Birth.