Fewer women give birth at home

17/02/2009 15:00

In the period 2005–2008, 29 percent of deliveries in the Netherlands occurred at home, as against 35 percent in the period 1997–2000.

The Netherlands is one of the few Western countries where women can give birth at home, bit the percentage of home births has been declining for years. In 1953, 78 percent of women gave birth at home. The hospital birth rate has increased from 22 percent in 2005 to 71 percent in 2008.

Hospital versus home deliveries

Hospital versus home deliveries

Home births are most frequent among higher educated women. Over the period 1997–2008, an average of 35 percent of higher educated women gave birth at home, as opposed to 27 percent of their lower educated counterparts. 

The decline in the percentage of home births is particularly obvious among women educated at secondary level. In the period 1997–2000, 39 percent of them gave birth at home, compared to only 26 percent in the period 2005–2008.

Home births by level of education

Home births by level of education

Marieke van Herten