Home Births Increase 20 %
Home births in the U.S. increased 20 percent between 2004 and 2008 following a decline from 1990 to 2004, finds a new study. In 2008, 28,357 babies were born at home, representing 0.67 percent of about 4.2 million babies born that year. Researchers attribute this to a 28 percent increase in home births for non-Hispanic white women, of whom about 1 percent now deliver at home. This year, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement disapproving of home births. Lead author Marian MacDorman says, "A significantly larger number of women in 2008 have chosen to opt for a home birth experience, a development that will be of interest to practitioners and policymakers." Researchers note that the risk profile for home births has dropped significantly.
Not Only Due to Estrogen Loss
Up to 70 percent of new mothers experience symptoms of depression within the first week after giving birth. While, the symptoms dissipate in most cases, up to 13 percent of women experience clinical level postpartum depression (PPD). Fluctuations in estrogen have been to blame but now new research reveals that, while estrogen levels drop 100 to 1000 fold after giving birth, levels of the enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) increase dramatically throughout the brain. MAO-A is responsible for breaking down neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, and, ultimately, for controlling our moods. By balancing MAO-A, this research “could have an impact on prevention and treatment of postpartum depression in the future", says lead author Julia Sacher.