Minnesota births at homes and birth centers rise more than 300 percent

Press Release by MCCPM

Minneapolis, Minn.—The number of Minnesota babies born outside of a hospital setting rose by 340% percent from 2005 to 2015, according to birth certificate data from the Minnesota Department of Health.

More than 1.93 percent of births (1335 babies) in Minnesota in 2015 occurred outside of a hospital—mainly in homes and freestanding birth centers—up from 0.57 percent of births (404 babies) in 2005. As displayed in the bar graph, birth centers became available in 2010 when state licensure for birth centers was passed into law.

As the numbers of freestanding birth centers and midwives providing planned home births continue to rise, pregnant people and families have more choices for safe and individualized maternity care,” said Kate Saumweber Hogan, Certified Professional Midwife, Licensed Midwife, member of the Minnesota Council of Certified Professional Midwives (MCCPM), and president of the MN Chapter of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives. “The type of care midwives are trained to provide has been proven to reduce complications, interventions, birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section, while providing greater client satisfaction.”

Births occur outside of hospitals more frequently in greater Minnesota than in the Twin Cities metro area. In 2015, 2.09 percent of babies born in greater Minnesota counties were born outside of hospitals, while 1.82 percent of babies in the seven-county metro area were born outside of hospitals, according to health department data.

According to MN Department of Health’s Report on Obstetric Services in Rural MN, the quality of maternal care in rural Minnesota has been on the decline in recent years. There are several possible factors for this, including aging populations in rural communities, obstetric workforce shortages, and costs to implement technology or update facilities to maintain obstetric services. As a consequence, many rural areas have inadequate obstetric coverage. A lack of local access to obstetric services is more than just an inconvenience for rural pregnant people. Extensive travel to their care provider can result in delayed initial prenatal care visits, missed return visits, and late identification of obstetric complications. Beth Bergeron is a Certified Professional Midwife, Licensed Midwife, and MCCPM member experienced in serving rural areas of the state, based in Moorhead, MN. Beth shares, “Midwives in rural areas may be providing more culturally sensitive and personalized care that appeals to certain populations and that rural community hospitals find difficult or unable to provide.”

Nationally births outside of hospital settings have increased since 2005. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of births occurring outside of hospitals increased from about 0.9 percent of U.S. births in 2005 to about 1.5 percent of U.S. births in 2015. In 2015, 61,041 births in the U.S. occurred outside of a hospital, including 38,542 home births and 18,892 births at birth centers.

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About the Minnesota Council of Certified Professional Midwives

The nonprofit Minnesota Council of Certified Professional Midwives promotes, protects, and preserves midwifery as practiced by certified professional midwives in the state of Minnesota. The council is committed to safe maternity care provided in an out-of-hospital setting. For more information, visit http://www.minnesotamidwives.org.

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