May 26, 2010

CDC Releases Report on Trends in Out-of-Hospital Birth

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new report, Trends and Characteristics of Home and Other Out-of-Hospital Births in the United States, 1990–2006 [PDF]. It uses U.S. birth certificate data to describe trends in place of delivery. Among the findings:

  • After declining from 1.13% in 1990 to 0.87% in 2004, the percentage of out-of-hospital births increased slightly to 0.90% in 2005 and 2006;
  • Home births alone were 0.67% of births in 1990, declining to 0.56% by 2004, and 0.59% in 2005 and 2006;
  • Of all out-of-hospital births (in 2006), 64.7% occurred at home, 28.0% were in a freestanding birthing center, 1.1% in a clinic or doctor’s office, and 6.2% were “elsewhere;”
  • 61% of home births were attended by midwives, including 16% by certified nurse midwives (CNMs), and 45% by other midwives; 7.6% were attended by physicians;
  • 83% of 2006 home births were planned home births; almost all home births attended by midwives were planned; 31% of those attended by MDs and 79% of those attended by DOs (osteopathic physicians) were planned home births;
  • Geographic differences were found, with 11 states having significant increases in home birth and 5 states having significant decreases from 2003-2004 to 2005-2006 (anybody want to compare these to relevant law changes in the states?).

The report also provides data on home births by race/ethnicity, but does not compare it to the percentages of the U.S. population for each group.

Eugene Declercq, professor of maternal and child health at the Boston University School of Public Health and a signatory to the Choices in Childbirth statement, is one of two authors on the report.


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