Home Births on the Rise

O Health Newborn

Home births are increasing nationwide, according to a report released earlier this year by the National Center for Health Statistics. In 2004, just over 0.5 percent of all births took place at home. Though still uncommon, home births rose 29 percent from 2004 to 2009. In 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, home births accounted for 0.72 percent of all births nationwide.

Among white women, the rate of home births rose 36 percent and accounted for more than 1 percent of births in 2009.

The Northwest reported the most home births: 2 percent of all births in Oregon and 2.6 percent in Montana.

North Carolina’s home birth rate in 2009 was .33 percent of all births. Though the figure represents a small number of births in the state, North Carolina’s home birth rate rose by a statistically significant 32 percent over the five-year period.

Most home births (62 percent) were attended by a midwife. Five percent were attended by a physician.

Cost may play a role in the increase, as home births are estimated to cost just one-third of the cost of a hospital-based birth.

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