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State Health Department Cites Trend of Births Outside of Hospitals

The Utah Department of Health released a report on Tuesday identifying a growing trend of women giving birth outside of hospitals. 

Throughout the past decade the number of out of hospital births in Utah has nearly doubled to approximately 2.7 percent. That’s about 10 babies per day. Laurie Baksh is the manager of the Department of Health’s Maternal and Infant Health Program. She and her colleagues collaborated with practicing physicians and licensed and unlicensed midwives. Baksh says these professionals suggested several reasons as to why women are giving birth in birthing centers or at home.

“It costs less to have a home delivery and so women may be availing themselves of that option, to save if maybe they don’t have insurance. We also hear that women don’t want a medicalized birth and they want to have a natural child birth, they want to be in an environment where they feel more comfortable and more empowered," Baksh said. 

The report is meant to be a base for further research. Its data analysis identified several areas that need closer examination. Laurie Baksh says that one of these areas is the newborn mortality rate associated with home births. These rates are nearly double those of hospital births.

“What we are talking about is deaths that occur within the first 28 days of the baby’s life. And so, again, as we continue to add more years of data in and can look at that we can start to look at why we’re seeing those higher rates in that setting,” said Baksh.

Another major goal of the report is to clearly identify the different types of out of hospital birthing facilities as well as licensed and unlicensed birthing practitioners. This can help pregnant women make more informed choices when developing a birthing plan. A link to the report can be found here

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