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Ask the Midwife
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200sq-alicia Alicia Witt is the creator of the easyBirth educational programs, a labor doula, breastfeeding counselor, and a student midwife.

"My wall and my heart is filled with faces of babies I have been privileged to help bring in to the world, serving as a doula supporting hospital births and as an apprentice midwife facillitating home and water births.  As a birth educator, I try to learn something new every day, so on these pages, I want to share some the people, books, resources, classes, experiences and insights that have inspired the evolving philosophy that is easyBirth."

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Finding myself with a few extra minutes today I came across an old medical film, this time on my favorite subject, labor and delivery. As I pushed play on this video I thought to myself I will finally know what it was like for my grandma when she went to the hospital to have my mom.

The opening scene made me a bit wistful as the women depicted at first glance looks a lot like my grandma when she was young (of course my grandma was prettier).

cdc mediumIn 2012, the Center for Disease Control released a study that indicated that home birth increased by nearly a third during the past half-decade. The study summarized that "After 14 years of decline, the percentage of home births rose by 29% from 2004 to 2009, to the point where it is at the highest level since data on this item began to be collected in 1989. The overall increase in home births was driven mostly by a 36% increase for non-Hispanic white women. About 1 out of every 90 births to non-Hispanic white women are now home births. The percentage of home births for non-Hispanic white women was three to five times higher than for any other racial or ethnic group."

A century ago, only about 1% of births were in hospitals, and the trend moving toward hospital births continued for 100 years reversing in 2004.

agnes-hungary-midwifeEvery country around the world has different attitudes about home birth and about midwives.  Most Western European countries have very open-minded accepting attitudes and so they embrace home birth. 

In Hungary, however, it is illegal for any medically trained person to attend a home birth, so about half of the midwives and doctors who openly support home birth are currently on trial, and today, a leading obstetrician and supporter of home birth, someone who has attended more than 9,000 births, began her re-trial.