The number of pregnant women who choose to have their babies at home instead of at a hospital has risen by 20 percent over the past four years, according to new statistics released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Though home births had been on the decline between 1990 and 2004, the period between 2004 and 2008, which represent the newest figures available, saw a sharp increase in home births.
Marian MacDorman, lead author of the study from the CDC, told reporters that the rise in popularity for home births is being driven primarily by Caucasian women. Roughly one out of every 98 pregnant white women had their babies at home in 2008, while only one in 357 black women, and one in 500 Hispanic women, had their babies at home during the same year.
“I think there’s more of a natural birth subculture going on with white women — an interest in a low-intervention birth in a familiar setting,” said MacDorman to reporters.
Published online in the journal Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care, the findings are not being met with approval by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which for years has been vocally opposed to home births. The group claims that home birthing is potentially dangerous, and that the “safest setting” for a birth to take place is at the hospital.
Unless there are serious complications, women who choose to give birth at home typically do not require the services provided by obstetricians. Many women who take the home birth route also utilize the services of midwives that are not certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). These may be among the reasons why ACOG remains opposed to home births.