No discussion in the article of legislative efforts, however.
A 1976 rule change effectively ended planned home births in Alabama by limiting the practice of midwifery to certified nurse midwives - registered nurses with extensive childbirth training. They can deliver babies only at a hospital and must be supervised by a doctor.
Because Alabama does not sanction CPMs, they can be charged with practicing certified nurse midwifery without a license if they are caught delivering babies here. That has happened at least twice since 1995.
"For many people, midwifery is a calling, and here's the state saying, 'Oh no, you can't do this,' " said [Chloe] Raum, who is apprenticing at the Ardmore birth house. "They can't recognize that birth can be managed in a dramatically different way (than hospitals) and have just as good or better outcomes.
"We try to be very respectful and nice and quietly educate people."
While state health officials say a hospital is the safest place to have a baby and the vast majority of parents are happy to go that route, midwife births are slowly gaining in popularity. According to government statistics, midwives delivered 328,153 babies in 2003 - about 8 percent of children born in the United States that year. That's up from 7.4 percent of all births in 1998.
The trend is being fueled in part by a study published last year in the British Medical Journal that concluded planned home births are as safe as hospital births for healthy women, with less chance that the labor will end in a Caesarean-section surgical delivery.