More Women Are Delivering Babies Outside of Hospitals and Here Are a Few Reasons Why

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Updated March 2, 2017
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Thinking about delivering baby outside of the hospital? You’re not alone. The latest research released from the CDC shows that more and more moms-to-be are choosing to have their babies in “out-of-hospital” locations — and the trend continues to grow.

In 1900, almost all of US births took place outside a hospital and although the “alternative” location trend is still fairly rare, the impact of women choosing to deliver in a place outside the hospital could deeply affect facility usage, clinician training, resource allocation and healthcare costs. Here’s what the CDC report noted: In 2012, 2.05 percent of all births took place outside of the hospital, with Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington state delivering 3-6 percent of all out-of-hospital deliveries. In Delaware, Indiana, Utah, Vermont and Wisconsin, 2-3 percent of all deliveries took place out of the hospital. Rhode Island, Alabama and Mississippi had the lowest percentages of out-of-hospital deliveries, coming in at .33 percent, .39 percent and .38 percent, respectively.

From 2011 to 2012, the percentage of out-of-hospital births increased from 1.26 percent in 211 to 1.36 in 2014 — and though the .10 percent increase seems small and insubstantial, over time researchers expect that number to grow. Researchers also noted that of those 1.36 percent of out-of-hospital births, the risk of birth complications was also lower, there were fewer teen mothers and fewer preterm, low birth weight babies were born. If anything can be pulled from the study, it’s the fact that women are, at the very least, weighing their options when it comes to the delivery room. And researchers agree, writing, “If this increase continues, it has the potential to affect patterns of facility usage, clinician training, and resource allocation, as well as health care costs.”

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Here’s what our moms had to say:

“We are planning a home birth for our baby due in June. This is my second, and for the first I had an unmedicated hospital birth with an uncomplicated and short (8 hours) labor. Since my daughter’s birth, I have become very passionate about child birth and am now a birth doula. I have spent almost two years reading about, learning about, and attending births. I feel very confident and excited about my decision to have a home birth.” — Rachel Z.

“I’m scared to death of the whole birthing process. Definitely a hospital for me.” — Gillian B.

“I like the idea of a home birth… but the reality is, I know too many people who had an unexpected emergency (or their baby did) and it was good that they were in a hospital setting.  A compromise could be finding a midwife or OB who supports a more natural birth but in a hospital setting.” — Jessica R.

“I would never give birth at home, I want to be right in the hospital if an emergency comes up.  Plus, I don’t want all that mess in my house!” — Tanya M.

“Birthing center. Birth is a perfectly natural process and there is no point in medicalizing it for 90 percent of women.  Hospitals are for sick people. I’m pregnant, not dying.” — Heather W.

“I’m delivering at a different hospital this time. There’s a birthing center right inside the hospital for low-risk mothers. I think I would like that option.” — Corinne H.

" I don’t know if I would personally be comfortable with a free-standing birth center. That’s just me… I want to be in a hospital. A normal birth can go bad so quickly." — Paula S.

“I had a midwife assisted natural water birth in a hospital. I wanted the professionals a few rooms away in case of an emergency, and ready to help my precious baby at a moments notice if needed.” — Eve G.

“I had an unmedicated hospital birth with a mideife with my first and while it wasn’t a negative birth experience it definitely wasn’t what I had hoped it would be. So many distractions, interruptions, a bit of fear tried to be put in me. The room was unfamiliar and big and empty. The bed was hard and crackly. I wasn’t comfortable there and I didn’t like it.” — Krista D.

“I am a huge home birth advocate, but I believe women should give birth where they feel comfortable. The best outcomes happen when you are comfortable. Be it in a hospital, at home, in a birth center or a forest. I also believe that women should be very informed about their options, their rights and the birth process and know that birth is not something to be feared. With my first I knew that if I went my whole pregnancy being scared I felt like I wouldn’t succeed. So I changed my mind set and got excited about labor and delivery and empowered myself with knowledge.” — Margaret C.

“I believe that doctors and the medical community treat birth like a medical emergency when really, our bodies are made to deliver babies. That’s not saying there aren’t real emergencies for some women but the statistics definitely show how doctors control how our babies our born and sometimes rush the process along so they can get home for dinner. I would love to have a home birth but my insurance will only cover a hospital birth. I’m not dissing anyone who wants to have a medically-assisted delivery at all; everyone has a right to their own opinions on birthing and whatever you feel comfortable with is what you should do. To each their own! I guess I am a little more hippy than the average woman.” — Kara L.

“I’ve known many women who have had successful home births. There is an action plan for everything including the mess. You just had a baby, the midwives don’t make you clean up the mess just like the nurses in the hospital don’t. I’ve also known women who ended up having to leave home and go have a c-section. Midwives are highly trained. They won’t put you or the baby at risk and you lead! It’s all about you, making you comfortable and birthing a healthy baby.” — Maya A.

Are you considering delivering baby outside of the hospital?

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