Home births on the rise in U.S.
January 26th, 2012
01:50 PM ET

Home births on the rise in U.S.

Between 1990 and 2004, the number of women who were choosing to give birth at home steadily declined. But in 2005 the trend turned, according to a new report released by the National Center for Health Statistics on Thursday.

The number of home births in the U.S. jumped by 29% from 2004 to 2009. Although home births are still rare - they account for less than 1% of all births - this is a pretty rapid increase, said Marian MacDorman, statistician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Forty, 50 years ago, there was this idea that hospital birth was more modern. Now it's the opposite."

The biggest increase was in non-Hispanic white women. About 1 in 90 births in that segment of the population is now a home birth, according to the report. Home births are most common among women over the age of 35 who have already had at least one child.

The data doesn't tell us why home births have increased, MacDorman said, but she can take a few educated guesses. Cost may be an issue; on average, home births cost about one third less than hospital births. Another reason may be dissatisfaction with the care women in labor receive at a hospital. Doctors and nurses are busy, often caring for more than one patient at a time whereas at home, a woman can have a midwife attending only to her.

Home births are all about personal choice, said Eileen Beard, senior practice advisor for the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Beard has been a midwife since 1977 and has attended the births of thousands of babies.

"It's 'attended,' not delivered," she said. "The mother is the one who delivers. We just catch."

Beard said women are becoming more aware that they have a choice when it comes to having their baby. Mothers often choose to deliver at home because they embrace the idea that giving birth is a normal, physiological process.

"It's difficult to have a normal birth in the hospital setting because of the culture of the hospital and interventions that are routine," Beard said.

At home a woman is free to surround herself with the items and people she loves. She's able to move around and get into a birthing position that's comfortable. While this is possible at a hospital, procedures and routine make it more complicated. Feeling safe and relaxed leads to less need for medication, Beard said.

"The more control you have over what's happening makes a big difference."

Safety is always the number one concern. Home births have a lower risk profile than hospital births, with fewer babies born premature, fewer teen mothers and fewer multiple births, according to the report. That's because midwives do such a good job of choosing candidates, according to MacDorman.

Beard said certified midwives have guidelines and protocols they follow. Mothers should be healthy with no major medical problems or obstetrical complications. And if there's a problem during delivery, they don't hesitate to take the mother to a hospital.

soundoff (381 Responses)
  1. shelly

    Women have been having babies without the aid of a hospital for as long as humans have been on this planet. Hospitals are a relatively modern convenience. While I wouldn't have one at home if I had insurance, I would definitely do it if I was healthy & if I didn't have insurance or a way to pay for it. You bet!

    January 26, 2012 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      Quite a lot of women died during child birth before the advent of modern medicine.

      January 27, 2012 at 00:02 | Report abuse |
    • WowWow

      Quite a lot of women died prior to "modern medicine" due to puerperal infections. Why? Because the DOCTORS didn't know that they should WASH THEIR HANDS.

      January 27, 2012 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Women and or children have been dying through births all through history too.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:12 | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Strange thing. Women were promised that hospital births would stop death in childbirth. Oh well. So much for that one. Hospitals have done nothing for childbirth except: make it more expensive, invasive, medicalized, and allowed OB Gyns to present themselves as "surgeons" when all they do is perform episiotomies and forced Cesarean sections.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:27 | Report abuse |
    • hollybush123

      I gave birth to all my kids at home. I wouldn't have dreamt of going into a hospital with risk of superbug infections, medical interference and the stress of being surrounded by strangers. Giving birth is a natural process. My midwives had more experience than any doctor could possibly have. They were wonderful. My kids are in their 20s now, healthy, unvaccinated adults. Life is a natural process. We need to keep it that way.

      January 27, 2012 at 02:12 | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      I agree with you. The fact is that this trend is going to continue because more and more people can't afford health insurance. Therefore, the rise in home-birthing is not at all surprising.

      January 27, 2012 at 07:29 | Report abuse |
    • Boredom

      1/3 cheaper? Try approximately 90% cheaper. My wife and I just had our second child and the costs for a natural delivery (with epidural) plus the hospital stay (including all costs charged by just the hospital) was around $13,500 which our insurance paid in full. The cost from our doctors was separate and was around $2,000 total. So, do the math. For $15,500 total, if we'd skipped the hospital entirely we would have reduced the total cost to insurance by 88%

      January 27, 2012 at 08:15 | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      I would have lost my wife and son if I had listen to the Natural birthers. On most cases, a child can be born at home. Vaccines are needed, why would you put your child in a pool with a preditor. Once small pox or measels get out into a unprotected society, nothing good will come from being "pure" of body. On Mersa, it can easily be in the house without the sighs.

      January 27, 2012 at 08:53 | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      @hollybush123.....Do you live in the US? Your children can not attend grade school, high school, or college with out having vaccinations. Did you homeschool your children? I don't believe in vaccinating for things like the flu, but the chance of getting measels in the US is slim to none thanks to their vaccination program. Home births is the couples choice but they have to be ready for any situation that could arise. My sisters best friend was told she couldn't have kids due to ovary issues, but she got pregnant and chose to give birth at home with a Midwife. The babies cord was wrapped around it's neck so long it caused brain damage and the baby died days later in the hospital. Who knows if she will ever have another child. If you are a know high risk pregnancy and/or have issues conceiving, why take the chance? Some hospitals have midwives that you can choose instead of an OB. I am 18 weeks and both hospital companies in my town have midwives. I chose a midwife instead of an OB for the personal and attentive care I get. I will still be in a hospital and OB's will be around if they are needed, and the hospital offers many options to make the birth more natural if that is what you wish. I am not forced to take pain meds if I don't want and I can be in any position I want except for giving birth in the tub.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:16 | Report abuse |
    • cew

      MRSA infections pretty much NEVER happen in the home. On the other hand, a few newborns have contracted it in hospitals and died from it.

      January 29, 2012 at 10:22 | Report abuse |
  2. Judy

    I have 5 healthy daughters, and thankfully they were all born in hospitals. My middle daughter didn't breathe at birth, and they had to work to resuscitate her. She would have died without prompt appropriate medical attention. Why take a chance? She is every bit as special and wonderful as her sisters who were born without problems. I simply don't understand the people who are looking for an 'experience.' The one experience they should be looking for is to leave the hospital with a healthy normal child.

    January 27, 2012 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jane

      A Certified nurse midwife would have the skill and equipment to do so as well. Obviously, home birth is not for all. But, its not as if the only other choice is a home birth without an educated and trained professional.

      January 27, 2012 at 00:04 | Report abuse |
    • WowWow

      99% of what you describe as "having to work" to get her to breathe can be done in a home environment....the ABC's of neonatal resuscitation are WARM, DRY, STIMULATE. Possibly supplemental oxygen which should be available with a fully prepared home birth provider.

      January 27, 2012 at 00:53 | Report abuse |
    • Aimee

      One of my beautiful sons was not breathing at birth as well, but we were not in a hospital. My midwife calmly and competently resuscitated him and he was breathing on his own and back in my arms nursing within five minutes. He would have died without prompt medical care as well, but being outside a hospital did not preclude that at all.

      January 27, 2012 at 00:57 | Report abuse |
    • G Man

      So what happens when your baby's head is too large, can't go through and it's heart stops? Can the midwife do a emergency c-section? Every birth is different and million things that can go wrong, go to your local children's hospital and see how many babies are messed up because of births at home.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:15 | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Gman, I suspect the number of "home birth" problems is a neonatal intensive care unit is so small as to be insignificant. Most problems are congenital, not "positional". A healthy woman with a healthy pregnancy will have virtually no problem in birth. You're advocating that all women give birth in a hospital on the CHANCE that something will go wrong. That's like saying, "oh, honey, don't go outside today, there's a CHANCE that an asteroid will hit you. Grow up. I advise reading Birth as an American Rite of Passage to dispell your absurd fears and old wives worries.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:34 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Tom, good points. There is much fear of "what if" when it comes to birthing in the United States. Fear is one of the most common and heavily used tactics by the medical industry to induce people to comply with their invasive procedures. Remember, hospital staff are trained throughout their education to intervene whether it is necessary or not. It is engrained in hospital culture. When you go to a hospital, it is a signal to the staff there that you must want intervention. There are many diagnostic tools that doctors can use to determine if a pregnancy is low risk and a woman can have a home birth if she would like to, without the fear mongering and ignorant backlash for those paralyzed by the fear put into them by the medical community.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:42 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth Roe

      I am 28 yrs old and myself along with 3 siblings were all born at home with my father and a midwife present. All were very healthy babies with one sister weighing 11 lbs at birth! My mother took no medicine. The only problem came with my birth. I had the cord wrapped around my neck and the plugged stuck/choking me. It was all just random. I wasn't breathing and was blue. No one really knew what to do- I guess I wonder now why my parents' friends (the midwife) didn't know what to do. But anyway, even after just having me my mother had the presence of mind to tell them that I would start breathing if they rubbed my feet and my body. And it worked. Not sure exactly how long I didn't have oxygen but I am fine today. When I was a toddler my mother said she thought I showed autistic tendencies- I played in a corner by myself and couldn't stand any physical touch, not even from her. She never took me to a doctor but read up on autism. She started forcing affection/touch/interaction on me and after a very trying time, I responded. Don't get me wrong, I am a normal and very smart young woman. I graduated on stage from high school and graduated with honors from college and read constantly. But, yes, my young brother learned his ABC's before me as a kid.
      When my husband and I have children will we want to do home birth or a water birth- Absolutely! Do I regret my parents not having me in a hospital- not at all. It was there decision to make and God was watching me. To tell the truth, my mom said that in fact, God was the one who told her to rub my feet when I wasn't breathing. Personally, she never knew that's what you should do in that situation on her own.

      January 27, 2012 at 07:53 | Report abuse |
    • DC603

      I can't see having a baby at home.

      For all the commenters who say that birth is a natural thing, I'd argue that cancer, mumps, measles are all natural, too, and without intervention (and sometimes even with), people would die.

      Sure, women have been giving birth at home for thousands of years, but they've also been dying at home for thousands of years. Sure, there have been some bumps in the road (someone reference the 'old days' where doctors didn't wash their hands, but chances are if the doctors weren't, people at home weren't either.)

      I just don't understand the closed-mindedness of a hospital birth. I keep hearing the 'surrounded by strangers', 'too clinical', 'don't want anyone telling me what to do', 'don't want bright lights.' etc. To the people with those concerns, I'd say to please do your homework. Not all hospitals are created equal, and you can find the one that fits your needs.

      I just don't see taking the risks. It's not about your beautiful experience; it's about coming home from the hospital healthy, and with a healthy baby.

      I had my first in a hospital, and after she was born, the placenta was stuck to my uterus. As it started to deliver, my uterus turned inside out and started being pulled out of me, placenta still attached. I almost bled to death right there and had to be rushed to the ER. That would have been certain death at home.

      The second child was in the hospital, especially after that first experience, but we found a hospital where the rooms felt like home, hardwood floors, dim light, and very 'un-clinical.' Everything went fine, but again, lucky for us we chose to do a hospital, because he was 4 weeks early and needed care right away.

      Most births are easier and COULD be done at home, but I don't understand taking that chance.

      January 27, 2012 at 08:47 | Report abuse |
    • Hmmm OK

      So what is a midwife going to do if the wife starts bleeding out while she's taking care of the baby? What happens if the baby inhales meconium, and needs to be suctioned out? Do you really think you want to take a chance with either of these? They are just TWO possibilities that a midwife couldn't do much about, with the exception of calling 911, then having to pay for the ambulance ride PLUS all of the other costs associated with a "normal" birth.

      For those "unvaccinated", how well do you think your body will be able to fight off something it's never come into contact with? How do you know that you aren't a carrier that could get someone else sick and possibly die? You don't, but you're willing to risk other's lives so you can say "this is what I have or have not done".

      January 27, 2012 at 09:43 | Report abuse |
    • Educated Mom

      To those that had all these Near Death experiences, please note that the majority of complications brought on during Labor and Childbirth are a direct result from being in a hospital environment. Even the Fetal Monitor exponetially ups the risk of complications. Also if the theory is you are safer in a hospital please explain the current Infant – Maternal Mortality Rate, out of 28 Industrialized countries the United States rates #25 and remember we have a 99+% rate of hospital births, then go check the countries with the lowest Infant – Maternal Mortality Rate and see where their babies are being born. You are being duped if you think a hospital birth is safer. But then again some people are very comfortable taking no responsibility for their own actions or birth of their child. After all, who is it again that has to live with the results? Its much easier to point fingers and place blame and a lawsuit when something goes wrong.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
  3. Tom Jones

    Just don't let all those hospitals that spends billions of dollars making birthing centers (to make billions of dollars off of our children) that. Pretty soon we'll see the AMA calling to have mid wives burned at the stake.... again.

    January 27, 2012 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Dennis

    So if there are complications or a disaster insurance or taxpayers shouldn't have to pay just because you wanted to forgo the best available care and roll the dice right?

    Also those safety statements are blatantly misleading. All those lower risks are directly a result of selecting the least risky births to start. The article makes it seem that if you are an idiot and choose home birth, you will be somehow less likely to have these things happen which is not true.

    Finally when Beard draws the distinction between attended and delivered like there's a difference she loses all credibility. What marketing hogwash!

    January 27, 2012 at 00:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aimee

      For many women, midwifery IS the best available care. Many of us do not care to be shoehorned into the medical model of childbirth, and there is plenty of actual research that shows home births to be intrinsically safer than hospital births. Try looking at the safety statistics of many European countries where midwifery care is the norm. For all our incredible medical prowess here in the US, our maternal mortality rate is ranked 39th in the world, worse than Bosnia-Herzegovina and Lithuania.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:14 | Report abuse |
    • G Man

      Amy you have no clue and have not lived outside US obviously. If a kid dies in Lithuania at home it will never be reported.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:19 | Report abuse |
    • Florist

      Of COURSE there's a difference. Doctors look at birth as something that they are doing themselves. This leads to a host of unnecessary interventions that complicate birth and have given the U.S. a shockingly bad neonatal death rate. It's on par with many third world countries right now. The c-section rate is now 1/3 of all hospital births. Do you honestly think that is necessary? The World Health Organization has condemned this practice and the many deaths it has led to, but American doctors continue to put profits above mothers and babies. Midwives attend births- they are there to help the process along, not to force it and cause medical problems.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:22 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      G Man, sounds like you've never lived outside of the US either. In Western Europe, there is a lot of information on home births especially with reporting and pregnancy monitoring. Lithuania might not be the best place to gather statistics however the Netherlands, France and Germany have significant databases and reporting on home births. Before you act like an expert, you should perhaps read up and talk to an expert in this area. Seems like you are an unfortunate victim (willing or not) of the smear of fear by the AMA and CDC on all things natural with respect to childbirth and natural nursing.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:49 | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      Giving birth at home IS the best available care. Hospitals, crawling with antibiotic resistant bacteria, full of indifferent strangers and inflexible protocols, are second best. I know, I am a nurse, a childbirth educator and I gave birth to two babies of four babies at home. Midwives are patient watchers and are indeed attendants, the mother does all the work. The fact that you do not understand that distinction causes you to lose all credibility.

      I don't know why people get so riled up about home birth. No one is forced into a home birth. It is a personal choice. So, if it's not for you, go to a hospital. I won't call you an idiot for making an informed choice about what is best for you. Live and let live.

      January 27, 2012 at 05:19 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      If their are complications a certified mid-wife will be able to handle it. If there are medical concerns before delivery then that delivery will take place in a hospital. Duuuh. People are making it sound like mid-wifes are somehow cherry picking deliveries when all they are doing is working with in sound best medical practices.

      It's like taking small rural hospital to task because they send a patient to a larger or specialty center for brain surgery. Gee that hospital must be cherry picking it's patients so it can keep it's numbers looking good. Absurd.

      Our daughter is 21 months old now and we used a mid-wife and a Duola. Zero medications. No epi, no pitosin, just used the knowledge gained from our weekly birthing class and our Doula ROCKED. 18 hour labor and a healthy happy baby.

      In Kentucky you can't have a home birth nor a mid-wife. So we went to Indiana. (20 minutes from Louisville). Felt much more comfortable with Clark Memorial.

      We attended birth clinics at both. The local Louisville hospital spent about 20% of the day talking about all the interventions they could bring to bear. At our hospital it was maybe given 10 minutes. After it dawned on me that at the first hospital they were already conditioning you for what there where surely going to be doing in 70% of the births. Scary thought.

      What was even sadder: A mid-wife birth without so much as an over the counter pain med and two days in the hospital: $17,500. Think about it.

      January 27, 2012 at 09:03 | Report abuse |
    • Ruth

      G Man, you didn't even read Aimee's argument correctly. She was saying the overall rate of mortality rate at birth is higher in the US than countries like Lithuania. She wasn't talking about home births. Furthermore, you don't know a thing about Lithuania. My husband is from Lithuania and I have been there many times. It is a first-world industrialized country with standards that would definitely up to snuff or even better. There is nothing different from the living standards of LIthuanians from Americans including excellent medical care.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:50 | Report abuse |
  5. Dennis

    I would wager that a higher proportion of these people also believe vaccines are dangerous.

    January 27, 2012 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dave

      Vaccination is obviously off-topic. You should read up on the difference between what it takes to bring a vaccine to market and any other drug. Don't be so shocked when you discover what is very well known that there is a HUGE difference between the two. Always ask yourself the question that if vaccines were so safe, why do the manufacturers need blanket legal exemption from getting sued and a separate court set up to deal with vaccination injury claims? Must be really safe if the manufacturers have legal protection from getting sued. Sound fishy to you? Look at all of the third party, long term, correctly controlled clinical studies on vaccines. Hmmm, wait, there are none. Sound fishy to you? Sounds safe? No drug, other than a vaccine, would ever be able to make it to market in this manner. So, why all the protections given to vaccines and their manufacturers?

      January 27, 2012 at 01:54 | Report abuse |
    • DK

      Vaccines are dangerous. You think injecting known toxins into your bloodstream is good for you?

      January 27, 2012 at 07:40 | Report abuse |
    • jan

      Hey there DK, the reason diseases like polio are making a big comeback are because morons like yourself should not be allowed to breed. For the other mensa members out there, VACCINATE your CHILDREN..

      January 27, 2012 at 08:34 | Report abuse |
    • cew

      Some proponents of home birth are anti vaccine. But many are not. All of the anti-vac people I know had hospital births. I birthed at home, but my daughter has had all the vaccinations, right on time.

      January 27, 2012 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
  6. Preston

    I have two children born at home. And I can understand why my ex-wife preferred that option – it is a much calmer experience, you get the undivided attention of your midwife, and you can move about as you wish, and make a lot of decisions that might not be available to you (because they're "too much trouble") at a hospital. Furthermore, a very specific plan was in place beforehand on what would happen in case of an emergency.

    I should also mention, that my second child was born breech, and she is perfectly fine and health – and still was delivered normally and at home.

    January 27, 2012 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Judy

    Watch the video Pregnant in America. It is available for streaming on Netflix. It will really open your eyes to the hazards of hospital birth. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 15% Caesarean rate. The US averages 30%. No, most are not necessary. Hospitals start by pushing the epidural which makes the contractions weaker so then they have to use pictocin to make the contractions stronger which means upping the epidural which makes them weaker so up the pictocin which ups the pain, etc until the baby is in distress which means intervention. We are #28 in infant mortality, and all the intervention is to blame. In other countries very few babies are born in hospitals. Midwives deliver babies, Obstetricians are surgeons, they operate. Ob/gyns call you a patient. Midwives call you a client. Pregnant women are not sick.

    January 27, 2012 at 00:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Katrina

      Absolutely too many unnecessary c-sections. Some done for convenience. Another big cause that most people don't think of? So many unhealthy Americans. Diabetes, obesity, smoking, drug use, hypertension all contribute. Diabetes will often make a baby much bigger than it would have been otherwise and sometimes just can not fit. An unborn baby of a smoking mother is sometimes not well oxygenated enough to tolerate a normal labor, so we see fetal distress situations which obviously leads to a section. Hospitals sure aren't perfect but believe me, your Dr's and nurses are trying their hardest with the extremely unhealthy people that present themselves there and expect us to "fix" everything and ensure a perfect outcome in a very very non perfect fetal environment.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:09 | Report abuse |
    • OB RN

      First of hospital, hospitals do not push epidurals, in fact, many women entering a hospital setting in labor are asking for the epidural before they are even registered. Secondly, the epidural does not slow or weaken contractions, extensive research has been done in this area and if a women is truly in active labor (meaning not getting an epidural when they are only 1cm or only contracting irregularly or mildly), then the epidural has no effect of the strength or frequency of contractions. Yes our c-section rate is horrible, and yes, some of them called prematurely, but mostly because we unfortunately live in a society where everyone is "sue-happy" and if the slightest thing goes wrong in a birth the physician and hospital can be held liable for 18 years. Countries that have lower malpractice rates also have lower c-section rates.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:14 | Report abuse |
    • Karolyn

      OB RN, I have been a labor and delivery nurse since 1980's. That experience alone convinces me that epidurals do often slow down labor, and significantly slow down second stage, even low dose epidurals allowed to wear off toward second stage. But you are right, the majority of women come in wanting the epidural as soon as they have it.

      January 27, 2012 at 08:01 | Report abuse |
    • Breck5

      Judy, there are extreme views on both sides–in my birthing experiences, I was never pushed to have an epidural–on the contrary my nurse encouraged me to focus on breathing patterns and muscle relaxation. I had an in-hospital Dr. who encouraged natural birthing methods and who believed in being as non-invasive as possible. I tore slightly and wasn't given an episiotomy. I think it's sad that so many women have had bad experiences in hospital births, but that isn't always the standard!! I never had to fight for my choices. Own your own health–whether it is in a hospital or at home.

      January 27, 2012 at 08:35 | Report abuse |
    • guest

      I was definitely not forced into an epidural. I was in labor for over 24 hours before I was given an epidural and that was when I requested it. I did end up having a c-section by my own choice. I made this choice because I had been in labor for 34 hours, I had an excessively high fever that was rising every time I pushed, and the baby's head was preventing him from dropping past station 0. I was not forced into any decision. I had an extremely attentive nurse who was there with me. My son ended up having to go to NICU because he couldn't breathe and because he also had a very high fever. I am extremely grateful I never even considered a home-birth. If you want to, its your choice. I personally couldn't care less about the experience of giving birth, I would much prefer to bring my healthy baby home and have a lifetime of experiences with him.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:47 | Report abuse |
    • No good birthing options in my area

      OB RN:
      I was lectured to get an epidural. After a shift change the new nurse walked in said, "I haven't read your birth plan but I think you should reconsider getting an epidural, this is going to be a VERY LONG PAINFUL DAY and the epidural will really help, plus, in case of a c-section you'll be ready." Her actual lecture was much longer. And boy did it make my BP soar. My birth plan had said I want to leave the hospital with a healthy boy and will do whatever it takes but I'd like to aim for as few interventions as possible. And mind you, I was already hooked up to the fetal monitor and had a pitocin drip going when she walked in, so I wasn't the picture of hard-headedness. It was hard to resist her fear mongering and I have a PhD in toxicology and experience in perinatal stress! There was a world of difference between what my doctor told me and how the nursing staff acted. My doctor said, "don't forget your rocking chair", he left the room, I asked to get up and the nurse said, "you can't get out of your bed" – and he probably wasn't even 10 ft out the door. Thankfully my doula help me toss about in bed to get off my back a little.

      My second hospital story is worse. For my second I was kicked out of the hospital, blood still stuck to my legs and CPS called on me because I didn't agree with "standard operating procedure" of a 24 hour observation of my son in a isolation chamber because he was born at home and would be an infection risk to the other newborns. (I have fast labors the EMTs arrived just a few mintues late.) I asked if we could be isolated in a room together but they said no that this was hospital policy. So they quietly packed up and left the room. So they chose to kick us out 3am with me still bloody because I wouldn't separate from my son for 24 hours because we could have brought germs to the hospital. In their response to their accreditation board they did say they should have simply moved us to a room together. (oh and CPS cleared us too, in fact the agent who visited said "we had it going-on") But this is why I don't trust this machine, why act in the name of policy and not think things through? Why kick out a "high-risk" mom right when she needs to be monitored the most? Why call CPS as though I was a crack addict, when I reported clear signs of good active prenatal care like twice weekly non-stress tests, exercise, good diet and clear actions that say "hey hospital help me" like hiring an ambulance when I realized the baby was gonna come before I could get to the car?

      I don't know, I feel like I've given hospitals two chances and they keep messing stuff up. I'm of the generation where births are at hospitals. But I'm tired of their 1960s approaches to treating women. And not everyone can just "pick a hospital that suits them" um, hello I live in hilly-billy hell there isn't civilization for 1/2 days drive from here.

      And I will say my current midwife has taken a lot better care of me than my doctors ever did. Imagine 1-hr long appointments, not waiting for 1 hour then getting a 5-10 minute appointment. Now for this home birth I'll have a skilled attendant, with an aide, they'll have needles, pitocin, oxygen, sutures, and the like. We'll be 3 miles from a hospital (only 4 stop lights and never any traffic). By all accounts I could be at the OR before they even have it set up, should it come to that.

      Oh hell I'm boring even myself this has taken so long. Good night.

      January 28, 2012 at 01:55 | Report abuse |
  8. SAll

    The mothers colostrum is both a vitamin boost for the baby and an antibiotic defence for the environment the mother frequents, per Gods design through nature. Now, take this mother and place her in a new environment to deliver her baby and have it live out its first couple of days here. Not only does the baby not receive proper antibodies for the new environment but has been thrust into a hostile atmosphere of staff and mersa , two major culprits in "hospital born infection" one of the leading causes of death in the US. (look it up) "Hospital born infection" is a far greater risk to baby than being born at home. The people who think only morons choose home births are the same type of people who trust the government to run their lives (from education or propaganda to deciding when your quality of life is over) ,wake up sheep.

    January 27, 2012 at 01:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Larry

      Well said!, but don't get so upset with ignorant people. It's not their fault that they don't know. Teach them...especially about the importance of colostrum and breastfeeding. Do you realize how many women give up on breastfeeding because they think they're not producing enough milk soon enough for their babies. Yet, even the doctors seem to be ignorant of the fact that it takes about a week for a mother to start producing any substantial amount of milk. Doctors these days encourage mothers to skip breastfeeding and to just put the baby on formula, which is primarily corn syrup and water. WOW! That is something that I get upset about, ignorance in doctors who are supposed to know better, who we pay tons of money to know, but who are ignorant or perhaps just choose the easy way. That is something you can get righteously indignant about. As for the average person, they just don't know and were never taught.

      January 27, 2012 at 08:52 | Report abuse |
  9. Bo

    Tried both methods and I will never go back to the hospital for my future births. Some medical professional feel they know what is best for their patient and disregards what the patient or parent desires for their baby and if the patient disagrees, the doctor can call child services and then you have no choice or they can take custody and do what they wish at that moment. Rememeber how octors use to bleed people thinking it was best and how many people died from what was thought to be best. If it is my baby, it is my choice. I decide! I will not go to a hospital unless I am wlling to give my choices away for someone else to make on my behalf. been there, done that and I learned.

    January 27, 2012 at 01:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tannim

      BTW, the hopsital death was covered by insurance and the nurses asked if we wanted to get him a SS card (fraud). I paid the midwife out of pocket. It was worth every penny!

      January 27, 2012 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
  10. Steve

    I know two couples that had the cord wrapped around the baby's neck. It might not have turned out good if a doctor wasn't there.

    January 27, 2012 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply

      Babies die in the hospital all the time Genius.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:14 | Report abuse |
    • Aimee

      All four of my children were born with a loop or two around the neck. It is incredibly common and rarely a life threatening issue. Midwives are just as competent as OBs to put a finger between the cord and the baby's neck and loop it back over their head.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:16 | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      Not sure why you think a midwife is less able to move a cord than a doctor.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:20 | Report abuse |
    • WowWow

      So what? If you think there is something "special" about your MD unlooping that cord rather than a CNM or the L&D nurse who happened to be lucky enough to "catch" your baby when you came flying thru the door.....99.9% of the time, it's NO BIG DEAL.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:29 | Report abuse |
    • Judy

      cords wrapped around the neck is a common occurrence. Any midwife can handle that.

      January 27, 2012 at 01:34 | Report abuse |
    • DK

      Midwives have no problem solving that issue. It doesn't require a doctor.

      January 27, 2012 at 07:58 | Report abuse |
    • cew

      Something like 30% of all babies are born with the cord is wrapped the neck. It's not an emergency. The procedure is the same no matter where you are: As soon as the head is born, you pull the loops of cord free, then finish pushing the baby out. My daughter had the cord wrapped around her neck at birth, and she was safely born at home, following the regular procedures.

      January 27, 2012 at 17:20 | Report abuse |
    • Kabra

      Doctors are much less likely to BE THERE in time because they don't sit with the mother during labor like a midwife does. As others said, you unloop it, duh.

      January 28, 2012 at 00:38 | Report abuse |


    January 27, 2012 at 01:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gwen

      Wow, what is wrong with you? If I were to EVER have an OB deliver my baby Ron Paul would be a most excellent choice! He'd give me all the freedom I'd want for labor and delivery. Your comment made no sense at all.

      January 27, 2012 at 03:24 | Report abuse |
  12. cyberCMDR

    Home births certainly can be safe, if you find a good midwife. Look for one with a good reputation, and that has a good hospital backup for emergencies. Birth is a natural process, but becomes high risk when the mother is obese, or drug addicted, malnourished, etc., of if the baby's growth profile and vitals are outside the norm. Midwives send those patients to hospitals for the birth; they avoid the risky patients, although they might provide support/advocacy for mothers at the hospital. You and the baby are much less likely to get a staff or MRSA infection at home. Hospitals are where the sick people are.

    January 27, 2012 at 01:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RoyInOregon

    I have a friend with a 2 1/2 year old daughter. My friend had good medical insurance when her daughter was born, but she is still paying down the $10,000+ that her insurance didn't cover - deductibles, co-payments, non-covered expenses, and so on. Perhaps more women are having their babies at home because delivering a baby at the hospital is becoming a luxury, increasingly beyond the reach of people young enough to be starting families.

    January 27, 2012 at 01:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Educated Mom

      Childbirth IN the hospital setting from the beginning was something sold to wealthy women. They were promised drugs to take away the pain and a premium level of care. It faded when women were dying from Puerperal Fever because these brainiacs didnt know enough to wash there hands. Then came the next phase of only poor women went to the hospital because Doctors wanted them all in one location for their own personal convenience, so the Doctors preyed on the uneducated women.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:05 | Report abuse |
  14. Rachel

    If you have risks, your midwife will alert you. Currently home and recovering from my third midwife attended birth!

    January 27, 2012 at 01:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Minneapolis

      If you have risks, a nurse midwife can do nothing. Doctors have facilities in hospitals that save lives. It's as simple as that. Yes, there are still complications at hospitals, but if something is wrong, they have all the facilities needed to save the life of mother and baby. Don't risk your life or your baby's life on a fad. Get them the best care possible.

      January 27, 2012 at 08:31 | Report abuse |
    • dcn8v

      Minneapolis, what Rachel is saying is that a midwife will alert you if there are any complications so that you will know ahead of time whether you will need a hospital birth or not. It's not like a midwife just shows up on your doorstep on the day of the blessed event. They work with you through your pregnancy and get to know you and your medical history. If there is a known problem, the midwife will advise you to give birth in a hospital. If something comes up during birth, you will be taken immediately to a hospital.

      Not every woman needs a hospital birth. Not every woman feels comfortable giving birth at home. But neither woman should be criticized for her choice. Both are perfectly acceptable ways to give birth, as long as precautions are followed and plans are set before the birth.

      Anyone who says differently is trying to sell you something.

      January 27, 2012 at 14:27 | Report abuse |
  15. Sarah Hampton

    I did 2 homebirths and both my midwives were retired from the maternity wards and "brought the hospital" to my house, they had so much equipment.

    I think unatteded homebirth is irresponsible though. Even primitive women had an experienced person present. Why do modern women try to be more primitive that the primitive women and do it alone?

    January 27, 2012 at 01:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Kathy

    I had all three of my children in a hospital but if I were to do it again, I'd have them at home. Why bring a new baby into the world if you start out their world in proverty by having a $10,000 hospital bill. Half of everyone I know don't have insurance and can't afford insurance since most of the jobs that hired around us are thru temp services and don't offer insurance that is reasonably priced for the small wages they pay.

    January 27, 2012 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. DC

    People still have homes? Wow...

    January 27, 2012 at 02:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • justme

      Best. Comment. Yet!

      January 27, 2012 at 09:20 | Report abuse |
    • Izoto

      Sarcasm fail.

      January 27, 2012 at 09:22 | Report abuse |
  18. midge

    My son was born in the hospital, and if I had tried to deliver him at home, he would have died. I don't understand why anyone would take the risk. My doctor was respectful of my needs and wishes in the hospital and everyone was very kind and supportive.

    January 27, 2012 at 02:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DK

      The idea that a midwife can't handle emergencies is false. The US, with it's doctor heavy handiness has a higher mortality rate then countries that have more midwives. Midwives do a better, safer job so your just fooling yourself.

      January 27, 2012 at 07:55 | Report abuse |
  19. Gwen

    I'm pregnant with our 5th child and we're planning our first home birth!! I'm excited about not having to fight with the doctors about my choices! I hate being poked and prodded and just want to be left alone to do my thing.

    January 27, 2012 at 03:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Sue

    I had one of my babies at home (by choice, with a mid-wife) and it was by far the best birthing experience of any of my children. If the insurance companies didn't make it so incredibly difficult to insure the mid-wives a lot more women would choose to give birth at home. Not only was my home birth my easiest birthing experience, it was the cheapest. At the hospital I was left alone by a very busy nursing staff and usually the doctor didn't show up until the very end (or missed the birth completely because he was busy with someone else). At home my midwife actually helped me find positions that made the birth more comfortable and was with me every step of the way. It was the best possible experience. At the hospital I was stuck using a bedpan and not allowed to move into any helpful position, except the birthing stirrups that my doctor desired to use (which makes things easier for the doctor NOT the mom!). I wish I could fully express how happy I was with having my baby at home and how much I wanted to have my others at home and I just couldn't figure out how to "work the system" so that I could.

    January 27, 2012 at 07:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Priya

    We have four children. The oldest was born in a hospital. My wishes as my child's mother were ignored. My nurses pushed me to get an epidural. I refused. Then my doctor pushed me to get a C-section for reasons he could not properly explain other than saying he thought it was the best option. What kind of doctor pushes major surgery without giving the patient a legit reason? My son was born naturally, in the hospital, just fine. No C-section, no last minute emergencies, no reason for the hospital staff scare tactics. The next three kids were all born at home. Our midwife was prepared and more willing to explain what she was doing and why. Our midwife also was with us from about the 5th month of pregnancy to the fifth month of my babies lives to monitor the baby. It's not like a midwife is just some person you pick up off the street. Midwives are trained medical professionals, a lot of whom are former nurses.

    January 27, 2012 at 07:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Atlanta1980

      You went VBAC after a C-Section? You're lucky nothing went wrong. You could easily have hemmorhaged and died. The baby could have died. All in the comfort of your home. You don't have any medical training, but you ignored the advice of doctors and endangered yourself and your children. That was just being selfish.

      January 27, 2012 at 08:39 | Report abuse |
    • melodious

      Atlanta 1980 you obviously didn't read when she said that her doctor pushed her to have a csection but she didn't, she managed to avoid the hospital fear mongering

      January 27, 2012 at 09:07 | Report abuse |
    • SF

      Atlanta1980, you should try reading the WHOLE post before you respond so viciously. She did NOT have a VBAC, because she did not give in to the doctor's pushes for a c-section.

      January 27, 2012 at 09:19 | Report abuse |
    • Mark


      The #'s that are starting to come out don't support your assertions about V-Back. Just an FYI. Ever wonder why Mid-wife's have WAY more experience in correcting breach before delivery or successfully delivering breach. There are even OB's that will refer patients to a mid-wife for a natural breach birth and it is because experience counts. Period.

      This image of some toothless, 6th grade educated hag, as a mid-wife has got to go. They come fully prepared (including epi, pitocin etc...).

      January 27, 2012 at 09:19 | Report abuse |
    • JenLaw

      Congrats on your VBAC. I know several women who have done it, including 2 vertical c-sections previously. You have to find a doctor/hospital that will allow it, unfortunately. It's not "rocket science", it's natural.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:02 | Report abuse |
    • dcn8v

      Atlanta1980, you're sadly misinformed and adding to the general fear-mongering surrounding birth. VBACs are no longer considered the risk they once were. It's true that you have to search for the doctors and hospitals that will "allow" them (I know, "allowing" a natural birth?) but it isn't an instant death sentence. Just as with EVERY birth, you have to evaluate both mother and baby, and decide what is best for them. No two bodies are alike. Some will do just fine, others won't. Fortunately there are those who can tell the difference and help women make educated choices.

      January 27, 2012 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
  22. DK

    Doctors push for c-sections for extra profit, not because they care about the heatlh of a baby.

    January 27, 2012 at 07:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Use your brain

      Ate you an expert in the insurance field? Are you a doctor? Just wondering how you know this...oh wait your not and you don't. Please try an not speak your ignorance is making all of us "stupider"

      January 27, 2012 at 08:42 | Report abuse |
  23. DK

    Hopitals have themselves to blame for the trend, but doing unnecessary interventions for extra profit.

    January 27, 2012 at 07:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Use your brain

      Again, please try not to speak.

      January 27, 2012 at 09:44 | Report abuse |
  24. Bill

    If the good Lord blesses us with more they will be born at home! Our last 3 were born at home wonderfully. My wife gave birth to our first in the hospital and has deep regrets as do I. After hundreds of hours of research into "Birth", for some reason we still went there despite knowing we shouldn't be their customer on that particular day.

    January 27, 2012 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Atlanta1980

      You were one of the lucky ones. Most births go without any problems, but you can never be sure.

      January 27, 2012 at 08:40 | Report abuse |
  25. cici

    I had my son at home in 1983...cost 400.00...

    January 27, 2012 at 08:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Larry

    Keep in mind that hospitals, as clean as they attempt to be, are loaded with sick people and germs that mothers are not immune to. At home, the child is born into the same environment that the mother is already immune to. Mother's colostrum will in turn immunize the baby to the same. Rather than baby having to be at risk to 2 different environments within the first few days of life, hospital and home, baby is only subjected to one. This is just a small reason that we had 3 of 4 of ours at home. Many of the other reasons have already been mentioned.

    With our first in the hospital, the doctor was late arriving and the nurses were telling her not to push until the doctor got there to deliver. When the doctor got there, he only supervised the delivery and then he was gone again....had to get back to his golf game. Not to mention that the wife was forced to deliver in a certain position that was very uncomfortable even when not in contractions. She wanted to try another position, but wasn't allowed.

    We know that deliveries are better today in hospitals than they were 20 years ago, but home is still the better place. We had 3 homebirths, including one broadcast live on the internet (The world's first live internet homebirth, and maybe still the only). Now 10 years after our last homebirth, our kids are very healthy, balanced and scoring off the charts at school. Does homebirth have anything to do with all that? We think it has something to do with it.

    Good for you moms who choose homebirth. We received a lot of disdain online prior to the broadcast of one of those homebirths....surprisingly, not for broadcasting it, but rather from medical professionals for not going to the hospital to birth. We did, however, receive much support from people in Germany and Denmark, where homebirth is not so uncommon.

    Oh, by the way, there were some minor complications with each of the births. Our midwife, each time, kept her cool and dealt with the situation and all worked out fine without the need of a doctor. All in all, they were all experiences that I wouldn't trade anything in the world for. I remember all of them like they were just months ago.

    January 27, 2012 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Blondie

    I can't wait for the day when we just have a few women having babies for all humanity, like a queen ant or queen bee. It will be fun to have a converyor belt with babies on it coming out to be delivered to households around the USA. I think we should close all birthing units and make c sections mandatory and any babies with any abnormalities should be immediatly made into fertilizer so the lawns in front of your house stay green.

    January 27, 2012 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JenLaw

      Ignore the troll.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:05 | Report abuse |
  28. Kevin

    Has everyone gone absolutely nuts here. Why does this have to be black and white. Hospitals are an incredible concept that were created for good reasons, to help the sick and dying. I don't know why we classify pregnant women as sick, but that is a whole other topic. My first son was delivered in hospital and we had an ok experience. They were really annoying with pushing an epidural, which we refused, and the doctor took his sweet ass time coming in, so for our second child we decided to go with a home birth. For us a home birth was a million times better. We are not high risk individuals, so we were not worried about complications, and being at home was calming, and made the birth go very quick. With that said we had our emergency plan. If anything went wrong we would be with in 10 minutes of 2 hospitals. Home birth is not right for everyone and you can argue till your blue in the face about which is better. The truth of the matter is one will be right for you and until you experience both don't act like you know which one will be better. We live in a country were we do have those options.

    January 27, 2012 at 08:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Nicole

    Yes, they're safer... that's why there is an increase in infant mortality with home birth vs comparable hospital births as well as an increase with "direct entry midwives" (who require very little education and attend most home births) and nurse midwives (who have at least a masters degree in nursing). Really, is it that hard to look up infant mortality rates?

    I'm not about to say that home births should be banned, but at least provide accurate information.

    January 27, 2012 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Larry

      Nicole, You are absolutely right....Is it that hard to look up infant mortality rates before you speak? Please show us all reports that show which is safer, home or hospital? I would be very surprised if you can find a legitimate report that shows hospitals as being safer than homebirths. Please, put your evidence where your mouth is. Take all the time you need.

      January 27, 2012 at 09:12 | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      Sure Larry. The data is directly from the CDC, you can check it at wonder.cdc.gov

      This data is for white, nonhispanic women age 20-39 giving birth between 37 and 41 weeks from 2003-2006. I chose these years as I could use several years worth of data rather than just one, as I would if I had used the 2007 data. I wanted to control for other risk factors (preterm, the increased mortality rate for minorities, increase in mortality for teens and this over 40, etc)

      Infant mortality is per 1,000 births
      Cerrified nurse midwife attended births was 1.65
      MD attended hospital births was 2.08
      Other midwives (DEM's, etc) home births was 3.24

      Comparing CNM to DEM births is the best comparison as MD's obviously have higher risk patients who midwives should, generally, refuse, but as you can see even MD's have a lower mortality rate.

      January 27, 2012 at 09:40 | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      CNM attend hospital births, sorry. There wasn't enough data to compare to CNM attended out of hospital births in this data set, but in other data sets you can see a difference between CNM and DEM births. I also should have referred to the births as out of hospital rather than home, the majority are home births but other births, such as those at birthing centers are included in the data. Also those numbers are the deaths per 1,000 births, sorry if I wasn't clear enough.

      I am anxiously waiting your reply Larry. Take all the time you need.

      January 27, 2012 at 09:57 | Report abuse |
    • iminim

      Barring the occasional home birth due to rapid labor & no time to get to the hospital, comparing home births is like comparing apples & antique cars. They are not the same. Good midwives select appropriate candidates for home births well ahead of time. They do not agree to homes birth for high risk mothers, premature infants, or mothers who have conplications during pregnancy such as partial placental abruption. The higher risk births then occur in the hospital. Higher risk = more chance of injury and death of mother &/or child(ren). Fortunently, midwives aren't trying to handle HELLP syndrome, placenta previa, premature rupture of membranes, and 26wk deliveries in the home. But because they don't, relative complication statistics between hospital & home births are meaningless.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:37 | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      Exactly iminim, it is hard to compare, which is why those death rates from the CDC should favor home birth non CNM midwives, rather than favoring hospital birth certified nurse midwives and MD's. As you can see, in the data set I posted, there is an increased mortality rate for home birth non CNM midwives. I wasn't directly comparing out of hospital births to hospital births, that wouldn't be fair because a significant portion of out of hospital births are not planned birth. So I controlled for those factors through the wonder.cdc.gov website by dividing data by birth place and birth attendant after controlling for population, as I described above. You can use the wonder.cdc.gov website and explore the various variables yourself.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
    • Larry


      Well done! Your source is as valid as can be found. We had 3 homebirths ourselves, 2 by a licensed midwife and 1 by a Certified Nurse Midwife. We found that the CNM was more prepared than our LM and was quicker to respond to issues than our LM. However, we felt that both were quite capable of handling our homebirths. We also had a hospital available to us 5 minutes away and we had the vehicle and bags ready if there was an emergency worthy of a hospital visit. It is the wise thing to do when you choose homebirthing.

      By reviewing the stats a variety of different ways, it appears that your risk of birthing at home increases by about 50 percent regardless of the attendant. More importantly, it would appear that a CNM is the best way to go if you can afford it. When we were looking into it around year 2000, the cost was $8,000 CNM hospital birth vs $3500 CNM homebirth. We were barely able to afford the homebirth....not that it was really much of a factor in our decision. We had our reasons for our homebirths and today we have nothing but fabulous memories and some video of the events.

      I would have to say that anyone who wants to homebirth should do their own investigations and make an informed decision. We made our decision with what info was available at the time. I'm sure we would make the same decision again today.

      Thank you for presenting a good debate on the matter to all here who posted responsibly. It's all been interesting reading with lots of valid points being made, whether for or against.

      It all boils down to personal preference and I'm glad we were able to find a midwife who would do a homebirth with us. They're not easy to find.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
  30. Tex71

    Hooray! We are now the only civilized (?) nation in the world where people are giving up on hospitals. Only in the USA can a right-wing politician say publicly that medical attention is a luxury that should be inaccessible to the majority of the population, and still have a career. Vote conservative if you like the idea of going back to the good old days of 80% infant mortality, a 35-year life expectancy, backyard amputations with a hacksaw and no anaesthetic, and infection as the #1 cause of death. We are already far ahead of any other industrialized nation in the pursuit of those achievements. The idea of average Americans being able to live a long, healthy life and die in relative comfort and dignity is, of course, nothing but socialism. No sarcasm there – it really is.

    January 27, 2012 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Use your brain

      WOW...I just read your response and I have to say, you are a complete ass. I mean wow, are you an expert? Because you are throwing out all these numbers like you know for a fact what you are talking about. It's amazing, you should run for public office! Man you are so smart. God I wish I could be like you.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:05 | Report abuse |
    • Tex71

      "Use your brain": Thanks for supporting my post by throwing empty insults instead of proving me wrong (or even providing any kind of plausible counterpoint). I obviously upset you when I wrote the word "socialism". Yes, I have lived in various parts of the world and have first-hand experience with their medical systems, so I guess that makes me an expert of sorts. But anyone can do the research and verify everything I stated – you don't have to be an expert to read the reports. Thanks also for the humor you provided in calling yourself a "medical professional". Unfortunately, practicing proctology on yourself does not count. Pull your head out already and get over it.

      January 27, 2012 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
  31. lori

    maybe the young women have no insurance? where's that angle in the article.

    January 27, 2012 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rb

    My son and I would have both died had we not been in a hospital. While no one likes to be in a hospital, safety and health of mom and baby is the number one priority– just in case. The most advanced technology, equipment, and specialists will always in readily available in a hospital - not necessarily in one's home.

    January 27, 2012 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Laurie

    Our choice was a beautiful blend of both: a nurse-midwife in a hospital setting. Seconds away from help in the event of a serious medical emergency, but with the love and care of our mid-wife/friend. An amazing experience, and two beautiful, healthy daughters.

    January 27, 2012 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shelley

      I agree with you that the midwife in the hospital setting is a good choice. While I understand the sentiment behind home births, I think they involve unnecessary risks, putting your life and the life of your child on the line for the "experience" is not worth it. If you prefer a midwife, there are many hospitals that have adjacent birthing centers.

      January 27, 2012 at 15:26 | Report abuse |
  34. Ryan

    I have nothing against at home birth. But if it would not have been for modern obsterics care my baby and I would have both died. Mind you I had a complication free pregnancy up until the day before I delivered. But to each it's own.

    January 27, 2012 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • cew

      So your complications occurred the day before you gave birth? A midwife would have required a hospital birth in that scenario – so you wouldn't have BEEN at home, even if you had planned to be.

      January 29, 2012 at 10:28 | Report abuse |
  35. VinoBianco

    I think I'd rather have a c-section than give birth naturally – surgery honestly seems like it would be less painful (though a longer recovery), would be quicker, and have less potential for complications. I think women should have the right to give birht at home if they want to, and I should have the right to request a c-section.

    January 27, 2012 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. jo

    A home birth would have cost me my son. When my water broke during labor, the cord prolapsed. Without immediate *surgical* intervention, I'd have lost my son. Cord prolapse isn't so rare that it should be ignored as a real risk for home birth.

    January 27, 2012 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • cew

      Actually, midwives know what to do about cord prolapse, and how to get the woman to the hospital while keeping the cord wet. And yes, a c-section is indeed called for. But either way, the most common "cause" of prolapse is premature rupture of the membranes, something that doctors typically do to "speed up labor" that midwives almost never do.

      January 28, 2012 at 22:17 | Report abuse |
  37. Ada

    HOME BIRTH IS DANGEROUS. In 2001, I chose home birth for my son. I had a completely normal pregnancy, no high BP, regular weight gain, etc. Immediately after the birth I began severely hemorrhaging. My son was breathing rapidly (we found out later he had a life-threatening infection). Believe me that you don't want to be lying on your bed at home bleeding out and waiting for an ambulance to show up while your newborn struggles to breathe. I just BARELY made it to the hospital before I bled to death. I was in circulatory shock and had to be given a blood transfusion. My son had to go to the children's hospital NICU. Thankfully we both survived (barely). I had been so afraid to go to the hospital, but the doctors and nurses were amazing. They were compassionate and professional and most of all, they SAVED MY LIFE, something the midwife did not have the equipment to do. Yes, my situation was rare, but it sure didn't feel "rare" when it was happening to me. The whole experience was so traumatic that only now, 11 years later, am I able to contemplate another pregnancy, and trust me I will be going to the hospital where they can take care of me and my baby if anything goes wrong. Take it from someone who learned the hard way. Find a doctor you trust and research hospitals. It's simply not worth risking your life and your baby's.

    January 27, 2012 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Anon

    I'm sorry but this article doesn't make any sense. You can't claim that home births are better because the woman is safer / more comfortable and then say that midwives only choose super-healthy mothers and if something goes wrong it becomes a hospital birth! Home births may be better but so long as midwives only pick patients who have little chance of complications, the argument is lost.

    January 27, 2012 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RS

    To each their own. People take risks everyday. There is an inherent risk in doing a home birth, there is even more risk in not vaccinating children, but there is risk in everything we do. I am a pediatrician and I wouldn't judge people for doing what they feel is best for themselves and their children, even though I personally would not have a baby outside the hospital and would recommend than every child be vaccinated for several reasons. But, I am more concerned about motor vehicle accidents and drowning (easily preventable causes of death) than at home births.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Crystal V.

      Respectfully, there are risks associated with hospital settings as well. Remember the cases a few years back when the nurses gave babies in the nursery the flu, and several died. (Another reason health care providers should have MANDATORY influenza vaccines as a condition of employment.) My first was born in the hospital, the second at home with experienced midwives (21 and 18 years ago, respectively). There are risks associated with hospital births as well, including hospital acquired infections, interference with the bonding process from separation of mother and baby for unnecessary procedures (heel sticks and for that matter newborn exams can be done at the bedside), and most importantly absolutely unneccessary c-sections, forceps, and vacuums. Even though I was breastfeeding hospital staff pushed formula for no clinically justified reason (hopefully better today). I nursed both kids until they were 3, and they had all their vaccines. Dr. William Sears, a pediatrician had a number of home births (that is to say-his wife). A cardiologist in my community and his wife asked me to attend their home birth. I was no longer a practicing CPM due to changes in state law that only recognize CNMs, so I declined. They found a midwife who was less concerned about the legal issues than I. My point is, there are clinicians who have done their due diligence, and have chosen and continue to chose home birth. 1/3 of babies in this country are born by c-section, which when the c-section is unwarranted creates its own set of complications in otherwise healthy mothers and babies . Someday the payers will crack down on this practice and then there will be reform if and when we ever get population health management under control! 🙂 With regard to heel sticks, I am appalled at the traumatic way they are done in the hospital. Laying a baby on its back with its foot in the air is counterintuitive. We always warmed the foot, had the baby upright on mom's shoulder or breast. Did the stick, and catch droplets, and we were done!

      January 27, 2012 at 13:57 | Report abuse |
  40. Marko

    We had our kids at the hospital and it was covered 100% by insurance. No one has posted how much they had to pay their midwife. I wonder why . . .

    January 27, 2012 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cleopatra1981

      My midwife charges approximately $4,800 for birth and prenatal care, this is covered by my insurance. The birth of my first baby, in a hospital, without an apidural cost approximately $20,000.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:46 | Report abuse |
    • AZLady

      My midwife is $4,000 for prenatal and delivery, insurance will not pay a penny. There is the add on cost of any bloodwork and ultradsounds, that the insurance is picking up.
      I spend at least an hour at each appointment with my midwife. I got 5 minutes with the OB that "diagnosed" my pregnancy initially. She told me I was high risk because of my age, without even examining me and told me that I would need a c-section. At 6 weeks she said this.
      Switched to the midwife at a birth center- have had no complications, and hopefully will deliver there after all.. If I do have to go to the hospital for a c-section, it will be $32,000 minimum according to my insurance website. I will be paying for about 8,000 of that.

      There is no comparison financially.I get much more personal attention and care with a midwife. I have her personal number and can call any time with any concern, however trivial.

      She has no hesitation to send me to the hospital at the first sign of trouble. I trust her a lot more than some strange surgeon. And she will still stay with me even if I go to the hospital.

      As for the cords wrapping around necks- there is nothing at a hospital birth that prevents that...and midwives can detect fetal distress just like a hospital...

      January 27, 2012 at 11:32 | Report abuse |
    • Tannim

      $8K in the hopsital for them to deliver a dead son (paid by insurance), and $1500 three years later for a midwife to help us deliver our living son (paid out of pocket).

      You do the math, but to us the latter was worth every penny!

      January 27, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
  41. smokeeeeey

    A mid-wife can also Drug you and try to steal your baby!!!

    January 27, 2012 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tannim

      So can hospitals with assistance from government CPS! Your point is what?

      January 27, 2012 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
  42. Deb

    32 years ago, I delivered my first daughter and 3 years later, my second, at home, peacefully and naturally. All went well as expected and cost me $32.00 the first time, $36.00 the second...the birthing kits were complete with everything we needed. So nothing here surprises me. What does surprise me is the reservation to allow parents-to-be, choices...supported by an American culture that by definition gives each individual the 'Right' to choose and be confident in their 'Right' to do so. HOME BIRTH IS NOT DANGEROUS...it is natural, and in all things NATURAL things are never perfect. We as human beings have developed tools and intelligence to address challenges when things aren't perfect. Nature lets those imperfections happen. We can not. Our ability to reason, think, discern, and improve outcomes has built a massive machine. That machine works just as nature does...it's never perfect. The infant mortality rate of U.S. hospitals is equivalent to 3rd rate nations...check the numbers...they speak for themselves. I'm not here to judge...no one has that 'Right'. I'm just saying...let me choose what is right for me, I'll do the same for you and whatever happens, I'll not judge...in fact, I'll support...it's your life, it's your body, it's your baby...welcome to the 21st century in America...that's the best kind of natural...right?

    January 27, 2012 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. iminim

    As long as doctors are held ultimately responsible for anything that goes wrong with a birth they attend, they will want to have control over the conditions of that birth. Tort reform is needed but will not change this situation overnight because OBs have been trained in defensive medicine for years and those defensive practice patterns are now seen as "standard of care". Still, tort reform is needed if there is going to be any change in the trend toward increasing medical intervention in the birth process.

    There is a role for midwives in the delivery of presumed healthy babies from heathy mothers with uncomplicated pregnancies, whether in a medical setting or in a home with proper equipment. One does not have to be "anti" one approach to be "for" the other. I would be interested in knowing how midwives deal with the malpractice insurance issue here in the US. Do they carry it? What is their cost relative to the OB cost? What have been the outcomes & payouts of cases where the midwife was sued?

    January 27, 2012 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Laura

      You're exactly right about this. Most midwives don't take an "us vs. them" approach to doctors. Midwives recognize the value of OB-GYNs in caring for high risk women or performing C-sections in situations where they are truly necessary. I feel (as a midwifery student) that all pregnant women should be assumed low risk until proven otherwise. If at any time during her pregnancy a woman show signs of becoming high risk then she should be referred to an OB much like your family practice doctor would refer you to a cardiologist if he suspected heart problems. Midwives DO carry malpractice insurance and it is CRAZY expensive. I know a few midwifes who had to stop doing what they loved because they couldn't afford the insurance. Many midwives don't do home births for that reason. Some midwives do home births without malpractice insurance if they have a very trusting relationship with their clients. This is obviously not in the best interest of either the midwife or the woman but the costs of insurance sometimes make it necessary.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:47 | Report abuse |
  44. Use your brain

    Ok I have read enough. Home births are not in any way "safer" than being in a state of the art medical facility. The article its self stats, that midwives choose births without expected complications. That is why they have fewer problems. To think that a MD would purposely give a woman a c-section for profit is pure ignorance. The reason they do so many is because people sue them for anything that goes wrong. Hence to avoid that situation they perform c-sections when there is the possibility of harm coming to the baby. They do it to protect your baby. Also, the person who stated there are less at home complications/death in countries like Bosnia, Lithuania. Have you been there? Because I have, oh and I have also seen their hospital system, which is well behind ours. Never the less, people still prefer to have a MD birth their child, in a hospital. Unfortunately in these countries that is not always available. That is why you see home births. Also they have less children per capita then the US. Yet they still have a higher infant mortality rate. I suggest before all you "experts" start comments and acting like you know, try actually reading real medical journals, or get a job in the medical field. I don't go to Burger King and tell you how to make the fries do I? Didn't think so.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tannim

      Sorry, but you need to use your own brain. Allopathic, hospital-based OB/GYN medical practices killed my first son. A midwife with a home birth delivered my healthy and living second son.

      A birth is an emergence, not an emergency. Treat it as such. We did and we had a healthy child. When we didn't we had a dead one.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
    • Use your brain

      Well, 1) Sorry for your loss. 2) How exactly did the hospital medical practices kill your child? Did someone get fired? Put on trial for murder? You had a horrible experience and suffered what no pareent ever should, still that is life and it happens. But, to blame the entire practice and to think because your other child was born with out complications at home, was because of a midwife, well I am sorry to say you are completely wrong. I happen to work with MD's Midwifes and my self am a medical professional. I can tell you that hospital births are much safer than home births. Midwifes only take on cases where they know the likely hood of anything going wrong is low. Hence why midwives tell you to use a hospital if complications arise or are expected. Again sorry for your loss, but you should not blame the system, kids are born safely in hospitals all the time, vaccinations are safe. The end.

      January 27, 2012 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
  45. Deb

    Still...it inspires me to know that even after 32 years, this topic engenders passion in the people, just as it did way back when I was talking about it...I had to dance around for months because of the fear and loathing that was directed at me...even newspaper articles at the time...made the front page of our local paper... oh well, wonder when our country will grow up...

    January 27, 2012 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Homeschool Mom in AZ

    Chances of needing a c-section at my local hospital are 1 in 3.
    Chances of needing a c-section if accepted for a homebirth with my midwife are 1 in 80.
    Chances of needing to transfer to a hospital for any reason with my midwife are 1 in 40.

    My first was a normal homebirth. My second was a hospital transfer for a c-section because of a detaching placenta and spontaneously ruptured fallopian tube. We both recovered 100%. That's how the system is supposed to work. The vast majority can deliver at home and those that need intervention can get it even for severe complications.

    Don't be too hard on OBs. They get are forced into high rates of unnecessary intervention because of sue-happy people. They are also treating far too many women at the same time because not as many people want to go into obstetrics with all the high liability costs and demanding work schedules.

    Midwives are rarely sued, and when they do it's rarely by a dissatisfied client. Unlike OBs, they are criminally liable for malpractice. Some carry malpractice insurance and some don't. You have to decide your views on that subject when interviewing midwives.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Homeschool Mom in AZ

      Yes, some insurance companies cover homebirths and some don't.

      Our first in 1996 was not covered, so we paid the $1500 ourselves out of pocket. We had 100% coverage for a hospital birth. The midwife's fee includes all the prenatal visits and testing, all the delivery costs, and all the postpartum care. We paid for our birth kit which was about $20 (chux pads, umbilical cord clip, etc.) and we paid for our birthing tub out of pocket too.

      Our second (two years later) was covered. Because we transferred to the hospital in labor the insurance company paid the $1500 midwife's fee and the hospital costs of $12,000. (With my midwife's 1 in 40 hospital transfer rate, the insurance companies save a lot of money.)

      January 27, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
    • Homeschool Mom in AZ

      Education about how to interview a medical attendant is sorely lacking in America. It is typical for most people to use, "I can't imagine how a midwife would handle this, therefore it must not be possible for her to handle this." kind of thinking. Instead, a woman should ask a midwife and an OB , "I "m considering all my options before I choose. How do you handle the following complications:...."

      Midwives are able to safely transfer women for cord prolapses because she can pick it up with the doppler during labor. I had a friend transfer for this to the hospital for a c-section. She and the baby were just fine.

      Hemorrhaging after delivery is handled with a shot and a transfer to the hospital if needed. Hemorrhaging during labor or delivery is an immediate hospital transfer. Some midwives will not accept smokers because this. Most will not take women with blood clotting disorders or vascular disorders.

      No, you don't wait for an ambulance with a hospital transfer- that would take time. The midwife calls the triage at your local hospital as you and your spouse are headed there directly with her following behind with all your medical records to give to the hospital staff. They were waiting for us when we got there 10 minutes after we left our house. Midwives rarely accept clients who are more than 30 minutes from a hospital.

      Large babies are not a problem because there are no epidurals. My midwife routinely delivers big babies at home without problems. She's done dozens in the 10-12 pound range. Without an epidural women are not forced into their backs reducing the amount to "spring action" in their hips. They typically deliver very large babies upright on a birthing stool, in a birthing tub, or on all fours. Shoulder Dystocial is also handled with position changes. I have two friends who have had this handled at home with no damage to mom or baby. A doula friends has seen it lots of times.

      For every complication you can list there is a protocol for midwives to handle it. Not every situation results is a live, healthy baby at home or at the hospital. You have to compare the actual outcomes at home and actual outcomes in the hospital for each complication.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
  47. 2HealthyKids

    Both of my sons were born in a hospital. The first was late, I was induced and ended up with a section. I changed doctors and hospitals. My new office was a mix of mostly midwives and 2 OBs who advocated a woman's choice as well as VBACs. I did not find out until I was pregnant with my second that there was on way my first was going to make it out of me. He was too big. Had I not had a section, we probably would have both died. I had a successful VBAC with my second son in a hospital where no one pushed the epidural on me. I did have to get pit becasue my water had been broken for 10 hours and I wasn't dilated at all. My midwife worked with me and honored my wishes. She and the OB on call truly cared about my wishes and what I wanted. Don't judge anyone else for where or how they choose to have their children. Homebirth isn't for everyone. Hospital birth isn't for everyone. I have 3 friends who have had successful home births. One nearly didn't. I ahve another friend who tried a home birth but was transferred to the hospital and had a section. Unfortunately pretty much all studies are going to be biased one way or another. My friend who had the transfer was all pro-homebirth before her son came, now she is very anti-homebirth. She can point you to tons and tons of stories of homebirths gone wrong. Just like there are tons and tons fof stories of homebirths gone right. If I have a third, it will be in teh same hospital with the same OB office. I ahd an extremely positive experience. Many hospitals now have women's centers or birth centers that are completely separate form teh rest of the hospital so you won't get all of the germs and infections taht are floating around the rest of the hospital. The problem comes in hospitals that are too busy and stick you in overflow. That happened to me with my first. I had a scheduled induction and ended up with a section and they stuck me in overflow. One more reason I changed hospitals. I also researched the C-section rate of the hospitals in my area and the one I neded up at for my second had a lower rate. It was much quieter and more comfortable. Ladies if you don't like how you are being treated by your doctor, you have the right to find a new one. It happens all the time.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. BabyMama

    Where a woman chooses to give birth is solely the choice of her and her partner, and it's really no one else's business. It's a VERY personal decision. Who is anyone here to judge someone else for their choices provided that they are healthy for mom and baby? I had a natural, 100% non-invasive birth in a hospital and it was beautiful. I felt more comfortable knowing that if there was an emergency with me or the baby, help was only steps away and I liked the idea that any "mess" I made was someone else's to clean up. Other women don't feel that they need that peace of mind and they prefer to be in their own homes, birth goo and all. So what? What does anyone care what someone else does?

    January 27, 2012 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. mommagina

    I had a home birth five weeks ago attended by a CPM. It was wonderful, and I plan to have all future children at home as well.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Diane

    I'm sorry but-ummm,,, what the world is a "non-hispanic white women". Is someone confused about what or who they are they are? At any event I am happy that "women" are going back to the way in which it should be done. I have four children and child birth is a beautiful thing when the mother, child and "the powers that be" are in control of the body and just let nature take it's course. It is a beautiful thing to the mother and father and nature just emerge in pure love for that joyous moment of a new baby being brought into the world. The mid wifes are their to be of support a coach the process on if need necessary.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

January 2012
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