The number of U.S. women giving birth with a midwife's assistance has more than doubled since 1990, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics for 2003, the most recent year for which data are available. In 2003, 8% of pregnant women gave birth with a midwife's assistance, compared with just under 4% in 1990. The rate was more than twice the national average in six states: Alaska, Georgia, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont.
The number of births attended by licensed, certified nurse midwives has increased every year since 1975. Most insurance carriers cover services given by certified nurse midwives who work in a hospital or approved birthing center. Coverage varies for home births and for services provided by uncertified midwives, also called lay midwives.
The growing popularity of midwifery may reflect women's desire to give birth with a care provider who views the event as a natural process, not a medical experience.
Quick stats: Percentage of births attended by midwives-United States, and 2003, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, February 3, 2006.