Out-of-hospital births have continued to climb over the past decade, according to a new government report. Classified as births outside of the hospital, for example at home or a birthing center, out-of-hospital births increased from 1.26 percent of U.S. births in 2011 to 1.36 percent in 2012.
Maternal race and ethnicity played a significant role in who was more likely to have a home or birthing center birth. According to the information collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012 the percentage of out-of-hospital births was two to four times higher for Non-Hispanic white women than any other race or ethnicity.
Out-of-hospital birth rates were higher in the northwestern part of the U.S. and lower in the southeastern part of the U.S.
Data also suggests that compared with hospital births, home and birthing center births had lower risk profiles, with fewer births to teen moms and fewer preterm, low birthweight and multiple births.
Proponents of home birth say that the medical establishment relies too heavily on drug interventions and surgery and that giving birth at home is a more natural option. However, women with high-risk pregnancies are considered safer in a hospital setting.