Childbirth Trends Over The Last 10 Years

Despite the fact that advances in medical technology march on, the number of mommies-to-be opting for childbirth at home has increased in the last 10 years. The nearly 30 percent rise in home births suggests that more women are taking charge of their birthing experience, but why are home births on the rise? From statistics on who is taking this labor and delivery path to possible reasons why, discover the details behind this upward trend.

Home birthWho is giving birth at home?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), home births are most common among women who have had more than one child and are 35 years old or older. The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics reports that non-Hispanic white women elect the most home births, accounting for a 36 percent increase since 2004. In general, "women with low-risk pregnancies tend to have equal or better outcomes at home than low-risk women who deliver their babies in the hospital," advises Michele Deck, president of Lamaze International. It's important to note that any woman with a high-risk pregnancy, such as women with preeclampsia or those who are carrying multiples, should not be a candidate for birthing at home.

Learn how to handle an unexpected home birth >>

Personalized care

The choice to experience childbirth at home is a personal decision based on many factors, but the freedom of choice appeals to many women who give birth at home. "More and more often, women are seeking out childbirth information backed by science and are recognizing that routine care in the hospital doesn't always meet their needs," says Deck.

While the constant care nurses lavish upon you in the hospital is necessary, sometimes a mommy and her newborn just need to rest and recover. "When moms are left alone, such as in a home birth setting," explains Sara Chana, an international board-certified lactation consultant, birthing instructor, classical homeopath and herbalist, "babies and moms are up for about four hours after delivery and then naturally sleep for eight hours. It is the best rejuvenation for mom and baby."

Natural childbirth experience

The most common reason many women cite for giving birth at home is that home births are a more natural approach to childbirth with less intervention. "During home birth, you are able to relax and go with the flow of your body instead of worrying about being pressured by time or others' expectations," explains Chana. "There's no time schedule and you're able to let your body labor as nature intended." Birthing at home may also make you more at ease, especially for those who are a bit more modest or prefer the comforts of home. "After my midwife left, I took a shower in my own bathroom and crawled into my own bed next to my baby. There's nothing more comfortable than that," shares Chana about her own home birth experience.

Doctor or midwife: Which should you choose? >>

Regardless of why home births are on the rise, the fact remains that fewer than 1 percent of all births in the U.S. take place at home. The reasons behind this growing childbirth trend may remain speculation for years to come. In the end, discuss the best option based on your situation with your doctor or midwife to give both you and your baby the best start possible.

Read more on labor and delivery

Forceps during delivery
Stages of labor
How to speed up labor

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