What does research say about the pros and cons of different types of birth settings in the United States?

In choosing a place of birth, you will want to find a good match for what is safe and important to you. More rigorous systematic and integrative reviews have clarified that the type of care that women and families get differs greatly between hospitals and birth centers or at home. This section summarizes best available evidence since 2005 on these questions.

Important variation also occurs from hospital to hospital and to some degree from one birth center to another. Once you decide to use one of these settings, it will be important to make a wise choice about the specific facility, as discussed below. Our Resources page has important tools for this purpose.