Did you know that in 1940, 44% of births were home births? In 1969 (my birth year), the percent of home births was just 1% and has remained that low until recently. The trend of out-of-hospital birth (one that happens either at home or in a free-standing birthing center) has increased by 3% since 2004 (up until 2006-which is the latest data they have). In 2006, 61% of home births were delivered by midwives—16% by certified nurse midwives (CNMs), and 45% by other midwives.
The title says it all. Today, Medscape released a paper ‘Science and Sensibility’ outlining the recent studies related to the safety of home birth vs. hospital birth while discussing the barriers that home birth practitioners, and women who want home births are facing.
Recently, women are choosing or are interested in home births at a greater rate than in the past several decades. The paper discusses ‘planned home birth’, which refers “to the care of selected pregnant women by qualified practitioners within a system that provides for hospitalization when necessary.”
Even though the ‘special investigation’ concluded what many studies have shown….that home birth or birth with a midwife is as safe, or safer than hospital birth, the slant of the story was hideously skewed and the main interviewees were a grieving family who lost their daughter to cord compression after a particularly arduous labor. My favorite line of the whole ‘report’: “Homebirth had become almost the equivalent of a spa treatment for women, that it was this sort of hedonistic concept of birthing.”