From Home to Hospital: The Evolution in Childbirth in the United States, 1928-1940
This paper examines the shift in childbirth from home to hospital that occurred in the United States in the early 20th century. Using a panel of city-level data over the period 1928–1940, we examine the impact on maternal mortality resulting from the shift of childbirth from home to hospital. Results suggest that until the late 1930s when sulfa drugs were developed, medical intervention had a limited impact on maternal mortality. Post-sulfa, the medicalization of childbirth reduced maternal mortality. Regressions estimated separately by race provide mixed evidence as to whether blacks and whites benefited differentially from medical intervention.
Explorations in Economic History