Study Shows Increase in Home Births

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In the olden days, almost every baby was born at home. Then, with the advent of modern medicine, hospitals took over. But in the past few years, that trend has been reversing a bit. A new study shows there has been an increase in home births all across the nation.

Some new moms say they like the comfort of giving birth in their own homes, while others say they do it to avoid the cost of a hospital stay. Since 2004, there has been a 20 percent increase in home births in the United States, and that trend has held true in Virginia, as well.

"When I found out I was pregnant, we really wanted to look at the research to find out what would be the best choice for myself, as well as for the baby," said Jamie Leonard, a Charlottesville mom.

After plenty of research, Leonard and her husband, a physician, decided that home birth was the way to go. "Having a home birth is much more focused on the mother and her needs and her wants," she explained.

And she's not alone. More and more mothers are choosing home births over having their babies at a hospital. "The care was just very well-rounded. She cared about me on not only a physical level, but also on an emotional, psychological, and social level," said Sarah Davis of her midwife.

Davis delivered two of her children at home with a midwife's help. She says her experiences are what inspired her to become a midwife herself.

"People's childbirth experience is often very transforming in many different ways and on many different levels," said Davis. "When other moms find out about somebody that's had a home birth, it sparks a curiosity and an interest."

Debbie Wong is a certified midwife at Mountain View Midwives in Charlottesville. She says many mothers are drawn to home births and midwifery because of the promise of more personalized care. "We get to know our moms. We get to know what they're needing for their care," Wong explained.

"I would meet with my midwives for an hour at a time, and we would discuss a whole range of issues," Leonard recalls. "It wasn't just medical. It didn't have to do with just my vital signs. It also had to do with my quality of life and the life between me and my husband and how that was going to change throughout the pregnancy."

Mountain View Midwives in Charlottesville assists in about four home births each month. For more information, click here.