The number of home births in the United States has jumped 20 percent in recent years, a new government study shows.
Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evaluated data from birth certificates for more than 4 million live births registered in the United States in 2008 and in previous years
The investigators found that 28,357 babies were born at home in 2008, representing 0.67 percent of total births. That was the highest proportion of home births since 1990.
“The percentage of home births in the U.S. declined slowly from 1990-2004, so the recent increase is a surprise in that it reverses a longstanding trend,” said Marian MacDorman, a statistician with the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the CDC.
She called the increase “pretty large” for a four-year period.
The trend was driven mainly by a 28 percent spike in home births by non-Hispanic white women, the researchers found. For this group, more than 1 percent of all births now occur at home.