Community Versus Out‐of‐Hospital Birth: What’s in a Name?


The term out‐of‐hospital has long been used as a kind of shorthand to refer collectively to births that occur in birth centers or at home. However, this term has also been a persistent cause of concern among health care providers who attend births in these settings, and researchers and midwives are increasingly adopting the term community birth instead to refer to planned home and birth center births.13 Some who resist the term out‐of‐hospital have argued that it reifies hospital birth as normative and community birth as other, marginal, or alternative. Here we propose community birth as a preferable term because it labels the practice for what it is—instead of for what it is not.

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Cheyney M, Bovbjerg ML, Leeman L, Vedam S. What’s in a Name?  “Out-of-hospital” vs. “community” birth. [invited commentary] Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 2019 Jan; 64(1): 9-11.