Homebirths on the Rise

The CDC reported today that homebirths are on the rise in the US.  Michele Deck, President of Lamaze International, responds to this study “Trends in Home Births in the United States: 1990-2009.” Read her response and then tell us why you chose a homebirth. 

The nearly 30 percent rise in home births may reflect the growing awareness among women of the gap between evidence-based care and the typical care women receive.  This trend suggests that women are increasingly interested in taking their maternity choices into their own hands.

The choice for home birth is backed by evidence showing that 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.  The NCHS report affirms that the risk profile of women delivering at home is lower than those who chose to deliver in the hospital, suggesting that women and their healthcare providers are appropriately considering risk in their decision-making process.

For Lamaze educators, the statistics behind this trend are reflected in the day-to-day interactions that they are having with pregnant moms.  More and more often, women are seeking out childbirth information backed by science and recognizing that routine care in the hospital doesn’t always meet their needs.  We hear from many moms who have had negative hospital experiences with unnecessary interventions, limited support and poorer than expected outcomes.  More moms are considering birthplace options and are ready to push back for the best care for them and their baby.

The drivers behind the decision to give birth at home are apparent.  A laboring woman is not subject to routine restrictions or interventions, which can make labor and birth more difficult.  At home, pregnant moms can choose their caregivers, invite family and friends for support, wear their own clothes, sleep in their own beds and eat their own food.  And, at home, women avoid the risk of hospital-borne infections that are a growing concern in the health community.

With strong research affirming the safety of home birth, the choice is one that pregnant moms and their care providers should make together after evaluating overall health, obstetric history, nutritional status, home environment and social support.  After reviewing these key factors, it’s a matter of moms deciding what’s right for them and their baby.  Most importantly, Lamaze recommends that wherever women choose to deliver their babies, they advocate for themselves to make sure their care is rooted in the Six Healthy Birth Practices.

For tips for moms choosing a birth place, see Lamaze’s “Six Tips for Choosing a Birthplace.”

About Lamaze International

Lamaze International promotes a natural, healthy and safe approach to pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting practices.  Knowing that pregnancy and childbirth can be demanding on a woman’s body and mind, Lamaze serves as a resource for information about what to expect and what choices are available during the childbearing years.  Lamaze education and practices are based on the best and most current medical evidence available.  Working closely with their families, health care providers and Lamaze educators, millions of pregnant women have achieved their desired childbirth outcomes using Lamaze practices.  The best way to learn about Lamaze’s steps to a safe and healthy birth is to take a class with a Lamaze certified instructor.  To find classes in your area, or for more information visit www.lamaze.org.

Melanie Mayo-Laakso


Melanie Mayo-Laakso is the Content Manager for Mothering.com. Mothering is the birthplace of natural family living and attachment parenting. We celebrate the experience of parenthood as worthy of one’s best efforts and are at once fierce advocates for children and gentle supporters of parents.

One thought on “Homebirths on the Rise”

  1. This makes me so happy to hear (on NPR, this evening, although of course to be “fair” they had an OB/GYN addressing the “dangers” of homebirth…more like the dangers to her bottom line, because she makes $0 from them!)and read! We decided to have our baby at home because frankly, I knew so much more than the average mom-to-be would, from the 3 years of hospital Labor & Delivery nursing experience my best friend had. I heard stories every week about unnecessary pitocin, (causing hellacious contractions that would inevitably wear out the mother, leading to unnecessary C-sections), impatience on the part of doctors, the ridiculousness that when you are in LABOR (hello, that means hard work!), that all you can ingest are ice chips (in the event of, you guessed it, a need for a C-section), the inability to feel like your body is meant to do what it is indeed meant to do…the list was endless. What I didn’t realize was how truly amazing, and comforting, it would be to labor in the most relaxing place possible – at home. I didn’t realize that over the 2 days it took my little guy to arrive, my husband & I would count on the familiarity and comfort offered by our home. Lev arrived 2 weeks LATE, too (weighing in at only 6 ounds 6 ounces, so he needed those extra weeks to grow!)- very few OB/GYNs would have let me go 2 weeks past my due date. After his birth, in our bedroom, and for months afterward (and still! – and he’s 2.5 years old) I was filled up with the sense that I truly could do anything I made my mind up to do…the incredible amount of empowerment this experience gave me has led to more confident parenting, a great belief in myself, and was truly a wonderful experience for my husband and for me. I also believe that one reason our little guy is so laid back is that he arrived when HE was ready to, and not when a doctor decided he was ready for him to arrive…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *