The United States Cesarean rate in 2004 was 29.1% and in 2007, 32%! Look at the sharp comparison with the Farm. Consider the midwifery model of care!
The Farm is an intentional community in Summertown Tennessee. It was founded in 1971, but the legacy of babies and midwives began before then. Spiritual Midwifery contains stories of babies born when the Farm was still a caravan (the Caravan) of buses traveling across the US in search of land to begin. Stephen Gaskin is Founder of the Farm Community.
The Farm has undergone various changes since its early years. I recommend you visit the Farm community's homepage for more information on this fascinating community, history, and people. The Farm also publishes several books that detail more history of the community.
Ina May Gaskin first began serving as a midwife for the Farm during the Caravan days. The Caravan women knew they didn't want to drop in on hospitals to have their babies (nor did they want to incur debt for the bills). So those first babies were born in the school buses, and later babies came, for the most part, on the Farm. Spiritual Midwifery contains many of these birth stories and more information.
Ina May and a team of women who became the Farm Midwives started serving the women of the Farm right from the start. They learned all they could about pregnancy and birth in order to take care of the women and the babies who were in their care. Though their beginnings were very humble, the Farm midwives have had a big impact in the natural birth community, and in the obstetrical world. The Farm has been advocating for natural births and homebirths and has a strong safety record to prove the safety of birthing naturally and of the midwifery model of care.
Visit Ina May's website to learn more about her and her continued work in the midwifery field. Ina May is a strong activist for safe pregnancy and birth practices and speaks out about the maternal death rate in the United States – which remains unchanged after many years, despite increasing obstetrical interventions. You can also learn more about this at Ina May's Safe Motherhood Quilt Project.