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More U.S. Babies Born at Home: Report
Date:1/26/2012

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  • In 2009, home births varied from a low of 0.2 percent in Louisiana and the District of Columbia, to a high of 2 percent in Oregon and 2.6 percent in Montana.
  • Saraswathi Vedam, chair of standards and practice for the Home Birth Section of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, thinks more women are making informed decisions about where to give birth.

    "Women and families have started to question the widespread use of obstetric interventions and want to control the environment they give birth in," she said.

    Some of the benefits of home birth are privacy, comfort and continuing care from someone who they feel a more personal relationship with, such as a midwife, she said.

    "Home birth was seen as a counterculture thing, but it's becoming more mainstream. People understand it's not home birth at all costs -- one can always change their mind and go to the hospital," Vedam said.

    The biggest objection to home birth has been concerns about safety of the mother and infant should something go wrong.

    "Everybody is concerned with safety," Vedam said. "Women who are healthy and have a profile of having a good outcome for them and their babies have come to understand that the equipment and personnel a hospital has to offer is not necessary for all women. It's most appropriate for women and infants who have medical indications that could benefit from what the hospital offers."

    More information

    The New York State Department of Health offers this guide on childbirth.

    SOURCES: Marian F. MacDorman, Ph.D., statistician, National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Md.; Saraswathi Vedam, C.N.M., chair, Home Birth Section, American College of Nurse-Midwives, Division of Standards and Practice; Jan. 26, 2012, CDC report, Home Births in the United States, 1990-2009'/>"/>

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