Home births

Although all the reasons they list in this story are factors, they’re missing the biggest one: Namely, that a lot of families no longer have health insurance. I was a lay midwife in the ’80s, and believe me, cost was a big reason for many, many pregnant women during Reagan’s recession.

Why is that so hard to understand? I mean, what are their other options?

Jessica Wilcox thinks her in-laws still view her ideas about childbirth as kind of out there, but it’s hard to argue with success: In the last five years or so, Wilcox has given birth to two boys and two girls — each weighing more than 10 pounds — at her northern Virginia home. And she hopes to do it again one or two more times.

Wilcox is part of a small but growing trend. While home births are still rare in the United States, they’ve posted a surprising climb in recent years, according to a government report out Thursday.

Jessica Wilcox has given birth to her two sons and two daughters at their northern Virginia home.
After declining from 1990 to 2004, the percentage of U.S. births that occurred at home jumped 29 percent from 2004 to 2009, when it hit the highest level since researchers began collecting data 20 years earlier.
Non-Hispanic white women were most likely to give birth at home in 2009, with one in every 90 births, or about 1.1 percent, in that group taking place at home. That represents an increase of 36 percent over 2004.

Still, Wilcox’s children represent only a tiny minority. In 2009, 29,650 U.S. births, or .72 percent of total births, occurred at home. Compare that to, say, 1940, when 40 percent of births took place at home.
Home births today tend to be more common among women 35 and older and among women with several previous children, according to the new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. They’re most common in states with renegade reputations, such as Montana, which had the highest percentage of home births, nearly 2.6 percent, followed by Oregon and Vermont, with nearly 2 percent each.