More mothers—and white mothers, in particular—are choosing to give birth at home rather than a hospital, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published today.
In 2012, one in 49 babies born to non-Hispanic white mothers were delivered outside of a hospital, according to the report, two-thirds of those were at home. In fact, "the percentage of out-of-hospital births was two to four times higher" for white women than for any other racial group, the report adds, accounting for 89 percent of the increase.
While the number is still relatively small compared with hospital births—0.89 percent of all births were at home in 2012—the practice has become more popular and has seen a steady rise since 2004, the report shows.
The report also shows that women 35 and older were more likely to give birth outside the hospital than teen mothers. Whereas the older mothers gave birth to 19 percent of babies born outside of a hospital setting, only 1.9 percent of teen mothers gave birth at home or in a birthing center.
The American Academy of Pediatrics on its site says that the organization "concurs with the recent statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that the safest setting for a child’s birth is a hospital or birthing center." However, recognizing that women might choose a home birth, both organizations provide guidelines to help ensure the safest environment possible.