Staying Home to Give Birth: Why Women in the United States Choose Home Birth

Debora Boucher, CNM; Catherine Bennett, RNC, BSN; Barbara McFarlin, CNM, PhD, RDMS; Rixa Freeze, PhD, MA


J Midwifery Womens Health. 2009;54(2):119-126. 

In This Article


The nature of research conducted by online survey limits the availability of the survey primarily to individuals with access to the Internet. The demographics of our sample do demonstrate a lack of diversity. The sample may therefore not be representative of all women who choose home birth. However, similar to the women participating in our study, 19,706 of the 24,468 home births recorded in 2005 in the United States were to white women.[4]

The study is also limited to a self-selected convenience sample of women who came forward to discuss their home birth decision. These women may have been passionately biased about their choice. The original data included a small set of women who chose hospital births, but they were excluded from this secondary analysis. We sought not to compare hospital birth to home birth, but simply to describe why women choose home birth.

These limitations reveal an opportunity for larger studies of a prospective design to explore the reasons why women of diverse backgrounds desire to birth at home.


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