Home Births on the Rise

Grandpa - Henry Kincheon Jones
Creative Commons License photo credit: eyeliam

Childbirth is one of the most natural and ancient activities around. For the vast majority of human history, it’s taken place at home, too. This idea that you go to a hospital (or birthing center, or family center, or whatever the latest, hippest term is) is a relatively new idea. The fact of the matter is that many women can have a safe and healthy birth at home without any danger to their child or to themselves.

According to statistics from the CDC, home births are on the rise. They’ve jumped by about 20 percent from 2004 to 2008 (the year that statistics were most recently available).

Where is this trend coming from? It’s likely driven, at least in part, by the natural childbirth trend that has captured the country for the past few decades. Moms and dads are becoming more and more educated about the childbirth process, and they’re making choices that reflect their desires and intentions rather than just the assumed medical practices.

To be sure, home births do carry some risks. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you should probably give some serious thought to having your baby in a hospital. There are too many things that can go wrong, and you want to have the kinds of medical resources you might need readily available.

That said, a woman with no risk of complications can have a safe and health home birth. The statistical risks of home births have historically been due to premature birth or teen birth, and those types of home births have, thankfully, dropped over the past few years.

Home births are often delivered by midwives (either nurse-midwives or certified midwives). In fact, physician deliveries in the home have declined a whopping 38 percent in the time period in question. About a third of home births are delivered by a non-medical individual, such as a spouse, family member, EMT, or the old cliché, the taxi driver.

So, what do you think? Have you had a home birth? Would you consider having one?

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