Portland, Oregon, is the #1 city to have a baby*:
I love Portland. It is truly the single best place in the United States to work as an advocate for Mamas and Babies. We’re not without fault, our cesarean rate is still high and consistent with the national average. We could be doing better, but I think the fact that so many women and men in Portland are actively working to improve our maternal health system and protect our right to birth where we want and with the provider we choose is ultimately our greatest strength. Portland women, especially, seem to agree that women have the right to birth in a way that even they themselves may not themselves choose. The right of other women to VBAC or birth at home with or without a midwife if they choose to seems to be something that most women who I come into contact with agree should be the individual woman’s right, not the government’s decision to impose upon them.
- According to data from the CDC, infant and maternal mortality in Oregon is especially low.
- Portland babies are 24% less likely than average to be born with low birth weight.
- Babies here are 21% less likely than average to be born prematurely.
- 88% of Portland mothers attempt breastfeeding. That’s the 3rd highest percentage of any city in our report. The average for cities in our survey is 75%.
- By six months of age, 56% of Portland babies are still being breastfed. That’s the 6th highest percentage of any city in our report. The average for cities in our survey is 43%.
- 19.% of Portland mothers breastfeed their babies exclusively (meaning no solids, formula or other liquids) for 6 months or longer as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, making it the 2nd highest scoring city in this category. The average for cities in our survey is 12%.
- Once Portland mothers begin breastfeeding, they are 14% more likely than average to continue through 6 months. That’s the 8th highest level of follow-through of any city in our report.
- Oregon has particularly progressive laws guaranteeing a nursing mother the right to breastfeed in public.
- 14.3% of births statewide are attended by midwives, compared to a national average of 7.3%.
- Portland has one doula for every 146 live births, the 4th highest ratio in our survey. The national average is one doula per 649 live births.
- Portland has 116 midwives for every 1,000 births, the highest in our survey. The national average is 37 midwives for every 1,000 births.
- Portland has 61 lactation consultants for every 10,000 live births, the 2nd highest ratio in our survey. The average city in our survey has 23 lactation consultants per 10,000 live births.
- Portland has plenty of high-risk pediatricians, 69% more than average per capita and the 9th highest in our survey.
- Portland has more OB-GYNs than average, the 5th highest in our survey.
*According to a 2008 study conducted by FitPregnancy.com
As a birth worker, I appreciate my sister doulas, the birth support network, and the network of midwives that I have available to guide me. As a Mama, I appreciate knowing that even if my family is ‘weird’ that there are other families just as ‘weird’ as ours is and I can find a playmate for Little. As a women I am grateful for the activists who work to preserve my daughters’ birthing options. After our 7 year adventure around the United States, I can say that there is no better place to have a baby and raise a family than in Portland, Oregon.