Midwives and Docs
Does an improved relationship loom?

About this project

Women have been bearing children for thousands of years. But childbirth is anything but straightforward. A woman having a baby in the US today has a lot of options for how and where to do it. And many women are choosing to give birth outside the hospital. In the US, home births still only make up less than one percent of all births, but there is a perceptible growth in the number of women giving birth outside of a hospital. In fact, births that happened at home increased 29 percent between 2004 and 2009, and they  mostly took place under the care of midwives. In California, out-of-hospital births may soon become safer. State legislators are considering a bill that would make it easier for licensed midwives who deliver babies outside of hospitals to work with physicians who deliver inside of them.


California's licensed midwives push for more responsibility

For her second child, Angie Rivera chose to give birth not at a hospital, but at the Community Birth Center on West Florence Avenue in South Los Angeles. Angie’s husband, Joseph O’Day and her midwife, Racha Tahani Lawler, were by her side for the...



Lauren M. Whaley

Lauren M. Whaley

Lauren M. Whaley is a photographer, radio producer and print reporter specializing in topics related to mental illness, reproductive health care and health disparities. She is also a childbirth photographer.

This year, she is working on a series about how low-income parents access care for perinatal mental illnesses. The project is funded by the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism.

Whaley was a 2016-17 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology.

Her work has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists, the Scripps Howard Foundation and the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) STEM story project. She has contributed radio, video, photography and written stories to KQED Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, the San Jose Mercury News, the New York Times and other media outlets. For six years, I worked as the Center for Health Reporting's multimedia journalist, based in Los Angeles. She is a past president of the national organization Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) and spent her early 20s leading canoe expeditions for young women, including a solo-led 45-trip in the Canadian Arctic. 

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