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Alaska reports most home births

By Shannon Ballard 7:24 PM March 5, 2014

Nationwide, home births have risen to their highest level in about four decades

ANCHORAGE - When you go into a home like Calisa Kastning’s, it’s easy to tell she’s a mother.

She’s one of those moms that likes to make everything herself. She makes her own baby wipes, detergent and food to tries to be as natural as possible.

“I get teased so bad for how much I do because I work full time. They’re just like ‘give it up, just go to Costco,’” she said, laughing.

Kastning is expecting her second little girl to be here in June.

While planning for her arrival, there is one this she is sure of: The baby will be born at home and not in a hospital.

“Women’s bodies are made to have babies naturally and we have lots of hormones for natural painkillers to get us through,” Kastning explained. “Until you go through it you might not realize how special it is.”

Women like Kastning are increasingly choosing to give birth at home or in birthing centers.

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says home births, nationwide, have risen to their highest level in about four decades.

Experts say a majority are white women and those who live in remote areas.

Alaska reports more out-of-hospital births than any other state, about 1 in 17.

The Midwives Association of Alaska says the new numbers reflect the popularity of home births aided by midwives and more insurance companies supporting the decision.

Kastning says she’ll go to the hospital if there are any complications during birth, but home is where she’s comfortable.

At home is where she was born and where she would like all of her children to be born.

Medical groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics say while they firmly believe the safest place for a baby to be born is in the hospital, they respect the right of women to make a medically informed decision about delivery.

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