Midwives have become much more accepted over the past 20 years. Many hospitals, including Central Washington Hospital, have midwives on staff and homey birthing rooms where families can have more control over a birth with the help of a midwife or doctor.
Midwife assisted births increased from less than one-half of 1 percent of all Washington births in 1975 to nearly 11 percent in 2002, according to state birth records. Out-of-hospital births, however, are far fewer, accounting for only 2 percent of all births in the state, 1,588 in 2002. National percentages are lower yet.