One-hundred years ago, exactly 100 babies were born in New Canaan—physically, right here in town—officials say.
We shouldn’t expect to reach that 1913 figure again, as New Canaan is flanked by two cities with hospitals—in Norwalk and Stamford—and Greenwich Hospital also draws expecting parents.
In fact, last year, just one baby was born in town, the Town Clerk’s office says, and just eight babies have been born in New Canaan since 2001.
“It’s a rare occurrence to have a home birth,” Town Clerk Claudia Weber told Patch.
Here’s a breakdown of home births—and some other vital statistics information—supplied by the town:
Year Total Births* Home Births Civil Unions Marriages Deaths 2012
1211** 0 99 112 2011 162 1 0 130 128 2010 131 0 0 189 127 2009 125 1 1 149 101 2008 153 2 1 83 119 2007 150 1 0 93 121 2006 171 0 1 109 112 2005 160 0 1 126 129 2004 187 0 0 112 116 2003 190 1 0 124 127 2002 194 0 0 118 108 2001 189 1 0 146 131 *Total newborns registered with town, including home births **An estimate
According to Weber, three of the home-birthed babies in the late 2000s were born to the same New Canaan family.
So it's a trend that may not appear to be catching on here. However, federal officials say, increasing numbers of women nationwide are having their babies at home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly all U.S. births occurred outside of a hospital one century ago, “the vast majority of which occurred at home.”
The figure declined, to 44 percent by 1940, and 1 percent by 1969.
However, after a dip from 1990 to 2004, the percentage of U.S. births that occurred at home—though still less than 1 percent of all births—itself increased 29 percent from 2004 to 2009 (the last reportable year, nationally), according to the CDC.
Here are some other key takeaways from a very interesting CDC report that we’ve attached here as a PDF:
- As a percentage of all births, home births generally are higher in the northwestern states and lower in southeastern states;
- Midwives attend most home births (62 percent in 2009);
- Home births are more common with older, married women who have previous children than others.
Why the national trend? According to the CDC report: “Women may prefer a home birth over a hospital birth for a variety of reasons, including a desire for a low-intervention birth in a familiar environment surrounded by family and friends, and cultural or religious concerns.”
[Author’s Note: A New Canaan resident asked me a while back “Who was the last baby born right here in New Canaan?” That sounded interesting so I did a little digging, curious about how many home births we have in town. The Town Clerk and support staff were kind enough to give me what information they lawfully could, so that’s what you see here. Got something you’d like New Canaan Patch to look into? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see what we can do, and be sure to drop by when we hold our next Office Hours in town.]