SILVER SPRING, Md., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Women who give birth at midwife-led birthing centers are less likely to have Caesarean births compared with women in hospitals, U.S. researchers say.
The National Birth Center Study II said the rate of Caesarean sections for expecting U.S. mothers escalated over the past two decades.
"Birth centers are homelike facilities existing within the healthcare system with a program of care designed in the wellness model of pregnancy and birth," Lesley Rathbun, president-elect of the American Association of Birth Centers, said in a statement.
"They are uniquely positioned to provide healthy women and their newborns with maternity care avoiding unnecessary Caesarean births and personalized to each woman's individual needs."
The rising number of Caesarean births in the United States -- 32 percent in 2010 -- has generated concern due to the many short- and long-term health implications for women, their newborns and future pregnancies, Rathbun said.
The study involved more than 15,500 women who received care in 79 midwife-led birthing centers in 33 states from 2007 through 2010.
The study found fewer than 6 percent of the low-risk study participants required a Caesarean birth compared with 24 percent of low-risk women cared for in a hospital setting.
Women who received care at midwife-led birthing centers also incurred lower medical costs, the report said.