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Pregnant Women Turn to Home Births to Escape Virus

At the Puget Sound Birth Center, where Seattle families flock for help with home births or a room in their candle-lit, hospital-gown-free birth center, Micki Persons usually presides over 30 to 35 births per month. In the last two weeks alone, she’s already added six more.

In neighboring Olympia, midwife Rachel Cook had five clients switch from a hospital birth to a home birth in the last two weeks. Kat Barron, a former home-birth midwife, announced two days ago that she was coming out of retirement. Five people have already reached out for her assistance.

“This is what we’re all seeing. We really need midwives stepping up,” Barron said. “Because would you want to go to a hospital right now? It’s pretty terrifying.”

As concern about the new coronavirus spreads, a growing number of women are considering birthing outside the hospital, according to midwives, doulas, and birth-center workers across the country who spoke to The Daily Beast. A fear of contamination—as well as hospital overcrowding, supply shortages, and increasingly tough restrictions on visitors—is leading more and more women to consider having their birth at home.

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