California Healthline Daily Edition

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CDC Report: Rate of California Home Births Increased by 37%

In California, the number of home births increased by 37% between 2004 and 2009, according to data released by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, HealthyCal reports.

The data show that home births grew from 0.38% of all births in the state in 2004 to 0.52% of all California births in 2009.

Home Birth Details

According to a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, most home births are planned, but an estimated 25% occur because women cannot make it to a hospital in time.

Robert Levin -- a pediatrician and a health officer for Ventura County Public Health -- said that studies have shown that home births might result in fewer medical complications for the woman giving birth but could be more dangerous for infants.

The 2010 study found that two in every 1,000 newborns died during planned home births, compared with 0.9 of every 1,000 planned births that took place in hospitals.

Possible Reasons for Rise in Home Births

Sue Turner -- a licensed midwife in Ventura -- said that women might be choosing to give birth at home because home births often are less expensive. However, she noted that only about half of California health plans cover home births.

Turner said some women might choose home births because they are afraid of hospitals or associate hospitals with negative experiences. She added, "Also, I think many people want fewer medical interventions" (Guzik, HealthyCal, 4/16).

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