Home Birth on the Rise, But is it Safe?

In the U.S., most women give birth in a hospital, but home births— which account for only about 1 percent of births— are becoming an option for more and more women. Between 2011 and 2012 alone, planned home births were up 7 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

And as more women look for a different experience with home birth, experts say it may not be the safest idea.

Why women choose home birth
For some women, choosing a home birth is about avoiding unnecessary interventions. The U.S. Census Bureau and CDC, respectively, report that 23 percent of women are induced and more than 30 percent have cesarean sections.

For some, it’s about level of care. The average prenatal visit with an obstetrician/gynecologist lasts 7 to 15 minutes—midwives typically spend 30 to 60 minutes with their clients.

“When women are pursuing home birth, it’s not that they hate doctors, it’s because they want something more or different,” said Jodilyn Owen, a licensed midwife, a certified professional midwife and co-author of “The Essential Homebirth Guide.” “They know that continuity of care and the relationship with their provider leads to better outcomes.”