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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Hospital Births Up Sharply in Last Decade, BU Finds

The proportion women giving birth out of the hospital increased sharply from 2004 to 2014, with mothers who gave birth at home or at birth centers having lower obesity and smoking rates and higher college graduation rates, a new study co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher shows.

The study, in the journal Birth, found that, while still relatively small, the percentage of out-of-hospital births in the U.S. increased by 72 percent from 2004 to 2014 — from 0.87 percent to 1.50 percent. The increase came after a 23 percent decline from 1990 to 2004.

Mothers who gave birth out of hospitals had lower risks of obesity and smoking and also were more likely to pay out-of-pocket for a planned home birth — a finding that may “highlight the commitment of some women to have the type of birth that they want to have,” the authors said.

“The risk profile of mothers having out-of-hospital births has improved across the decade, and in 2014, mothers with out-of-hospital births appeared to be at less demographic risk than mothers giving birth in hospitals,” said study authors Dr. Eugene Declercq, professor of community health sciences at BUSPH, and Dr. Marian MacDorman, research professor of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland.

To read more about the study, go to: