According to data released Thursday by the CDC, more women gave birth at home in America last year, continuing a widespread trend and reaching the highest number in decades.
Out of the 4 million births that occurred nationwide in 2021, the research stated that over 52,000 births took place at home. This was a 12% rise from 2020. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, the number increased by 22% over 2019.
There were a number of potential causes for the rise in home births. Hospitalizations and infection rates were both high. According to principal author of the report Elizabeth Gregory, many people avoided visiting hospitals or doctors’ offices and vaccinations were either unavailable or not commonly used.
In addition, some of the women lived too far from a hospital, lacked health insurance, or couldn’t get there quickly enough. According to the Associated Press, about 25% of births at home are unplanned.
All races had an increase in home births, but Hispanics had a lower percentage of them.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, according to the AP, has determined that home deliveries are riskier than childbirth in hospitals. The group cautions women who are expecting multiples or who have had a previous caesarean section against giving birth at home.
According to Jeffrey Ecker, M.D., director of obstetrics and gynaecology at Massachusetts General Hospital, “Hospitals and accredited birth centres are the safest places to give birth because although serious complications associated with labour and delivery are uncommon, they can be catastrophic.”