This was an intersting piece in the Telegraph (UK). It shows how government policies and national culture can really affect how and where birth happens.
Home births still rare despite Government pledge
The number of women giving birth at home has slumped in the space of two generations, a Government report will say this week.
By Patrick Sawer
Last Updated: 12:46AM BST 21 Sep 2008
Research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will highlight how the proportion of deliveries taking place at home fell from one in three in 1955, to just one in 40 by 2006.
While home births have undergone something of a renaissance in the past few years - with celebrities such as Charlotte Church and Davina McCall opting to give birth at home - the report will demonstrate just how far the level remains below what it was in the Fifties and Sixties.
The Government has promised that by next year, all women in England should be given the option of where to have their baby. However, a shortage of midwives often means that women are not offered a home birth, or have it cancelled at the last minute and are forced to go into hospital.
There was a significant increase in home births in 2006, when 18,953 deliveries took place at home compared with 17,277 the year before. Yet despite the rise, only 2.5 per cent of deliveries in 2006 were at home, compared with 30 per cent in the Netherlands.