Out-of-hospital births in the United States 2009–2014

Amos Grunebaum and Frank A. Chervenak

Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate recent trends of out-of-hospital births in the US from 2009 to 2014.

Methods:

We accessed data for all live births occurring in the US from the National Vital Statistics System, Natality Data Files for 2009–2014 through the interactive data tool, VitalStats.

Results:

Out-of-hospital (OOH) births in the US increased from 2009 to 2014 by 80.2% from 32,596 to 58,743 (0.79%–1.47% of all live births). Home births (HB) increased by 77.3% and births in freestanding birthing centers (FBC) increased by 79.6%. In 2014, 63.8% of OOH births were HB, 30.7% were in FBC, and 5.5% were in other places, physicians offices, or clinics. The majority of women who had an OOH birth in 2014 were non-Hispanic White (82.3%). About in one in 47 non-Hispanic White women had an OOH in 2014, up from 1 in 87 in 2009. Women with a HB were older compared to hospital births (age ≥35: 21.5% vs. 15.4%), had a higher live birth order(≥5: 18.9% vs. 4.9%), 3.48% had infants <2500 g and 4.66% delivered <37 weeks’ gestation. 4.34% of HB were patients with prior cesarean deliveries, 1.6% were breech, and 0.81% were twins.

Conclusions:

Since 2004 the number of women delivered out of the hospital, at home and in freestanding birthing centers has significantly increased in the US making it the country with the most out of hospital births among all developed countries. The root cause of the increase in planned OOH births should be identified and addressed by the medical community.

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