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Planned home birth

INTRODUCTION

Planned home birth is a subject of ongoing controversy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' (ACOG) Committee on Obstetric Practice states that hospitals and birthing centers are the safest setting for birth, but they respect the right of women to make medically informed decisions about their delivery site [1]. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) concurred with this statement [2]. The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) [3] and the American Public Health Association (APHA) [4] have policy statements supporting the practice of planned out-of-hospital birth in select populations of women. The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a statement indicating women can choose to deliver at home if they have low-risk pregnancies, receive the appropriate level of care, and formulate contingency plans for transfer to a properly-staffed/equipped delivery unit if problems arise [5]. In the Dutch system, pregnant women without medical complications are asked to choose where they want to give birth: at home or in a short-stay hospital setting. The home birth rate in the Netherlands is the highest in the developed world, although it has declined from 35 percent of all births in 1997-2000 to 23 percent of all births in 2009 [6].

This topic will discuss planned home birth. Delivery at birth centers and unplanned home birth are reviewed separately.

(See "Birth centers".)

(See "Precipitous birth not occurring on a labor and delivery unit".)

UNITED STATES NATALITY DATA

Prevalence of home birth — The United States National Center for Health Statistics reports birth data based on state vital statistics records, which are determined from the Standard Certificate of a Live Birth (ie, birth certificate). Prior to 1989, births were identified as either occurring in or out of a hospital (eg, home, car, office). Since 1989, a specific category for home births was included on the Standard Certificate. Since 2003, some states have changed their Standard Certificate to identify planned versus unplanned home births and, by 2012, there were 38 states which reported planning status, accounting for 90 percent of all home births.

                   

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Literature review current through: Jun 2014. | This topic last updated: Jul 14, 2014.
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