Home births increase, mostly in rural areas

Home birth is making a resurgence in the U.S., reports Shari Roan of the Los Angeles Times. It used to be commonplace in rural areas where doctors were few and transportation wasn’t easy. As those factors faded, mothers chose hospitals over bedrooms, and the rate of home birth fell to less than 1 percent of all births by 1969. It’s still not as common, but the rate has risen 29 percent from 2004 to 2009, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The trend is strongest in northwestern states, including Oregon at 2 percent and Montana at 2.6 percent, probably because of “sheer lack of transportation in rural areas,” Roan reports. Cost may also be a factor because home births are about one-third the cost of hospital births. About 62 percent of home births in 2009 were attended by midwives, and the trend is increasing most among white women. (Read more)

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