Prevalence of home birth among 880,345 women in 67 low- and middle-income countries: A meta-analysis of Demographic and Health Surveys

Akram Hernández-Vásquez, Horacio Chacón-Torrico*, Guido Bendezu-Quispe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of home birth in low-middle income countries (LMIC) according to geographic area and sociodemographic characteristics between 2000 and 2019. Methods: A meta-analysis was carried out using the most recent demographic and health surveys as a data source (total countries: 67). A random-effects meta-analysis was obtained to calculate pooled prevalence estimates of home birth for all the countries included and by geographic region of the world. Likewise, a subgroup analysis was performed to estimate the prevalence of home birth according to the sociodemographic factors considered for this study. Results: The global prevalence of home birth was 28% (95% CI: 0.24–0.33), with the lowest prevalence in the region of Europe & Central Asia (5%, 95% CI: 0.03–0.07) and the highest in East Asia & Pacific region (38%, 95% CI: 0.26–0.51). Twelve countries had proportions of home births greater than 50% (seven belonged to the Sub-Saharan Africa region). The countries with the highest proportion of home births were Chad (78%), Ethiopia (73%), and Niger and Yemen (70% each). Concerning the wealth index, in general, the richest quintile (quintile 5) presented the lowest proportion of home births. In contrast, the poorest (quintile 1) generally had the highest prevalence of home births. Regarding educational level, women without education presented the highest proportions of home births in general. In relation to the area of residence, in almost all the countries studied, women in rural areas generally had a higher proportion of home births than those in urban areas. Conclusions: Home births occurred in approximately 3 out of 10 women in LMIC. There are also differences in the proportion of home births according to socioeconomic factors such as educational level, wealth index, and rurality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100955
Pages (from-to)100955
JournalSSM - Population Health
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Birth setting
  • Developing countries
  • Health surveys
  • Home childbirth
  • Meta-analysis


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