Exciting news about out-of-hospital birth! A just-released report from the Centers for Disease Control (the CDC) showed that the number of out-of-hospital births increased by 5% from 2004 to 2005 and stayed up in 2006 (the numbers had been gradually decreasing over the previous 14 years). In fact, in nine states, out-of-hospital births rose by 15% or more!
This report confirms what has been sensed in the out-of-hospital birthing community for awhile: the amount of demand, interest and births in out-of-hospital settings and the midwives who assist in them are on the rise, and the increase has to do with families wanting births that feel safe, private, affordable and in keeping with their cultural and religious practices. The report goes on to show that out-of-hospital births have better outcomes: fewer pre-term and low-birth weight babies. One theory about these outcomes is that they can be attributed in part to the high-quality, personalized, preventative prenatal care offered by out-of-hospital midwives (including CPMs, Certified Professional Midwives).
On a side note, this report also shows that women have been increasingly seeking out-of-hospital births several years before the release of Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake's popular film The Business of Being Born (2008), proving that this film and other media interest in out-of-hospital birth reflect, not lead, the desires and actions of American families.
To download the full CDC report, go to http://www.cdc. gov/nchs/ data/nvsr/ nvsr58/nvsr58_ 11.pdf.
Arielle Greenberg Bywater