When it comes to birthing and raising children, you'll want quality healthcare. You'll need good prenatal services, a well-equipped hospital or birthing center, and breastfeeding support -- and that's just when your baby is born! As your child grows, you'll want a reputable, accessible pediatrician, a children's hospital or one with a pediatric emergency unit, and your choice of child-friendly specialists.
- Most Children's Hospitals: Chicago and St. Louis Both Midwestern cities have five pediatric hospital facilities in their metro areas.
- Most Birthing Centers: Dallas; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle With three apiece, these progressive communities offer pregnant women alternative birthing options (usually with midwives instead of doctors) and pre- and postnatal support.
- Best Children's Hospital: Philadelphia Open since 1855, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia developed the closed incubator and vaccines for rubella, mumps, and influenza, and offered the nation's first pediatric intensive care unit.
- Most Affordable Family Health Insurance: Kansas City, Missouri Plans for self-insured families here can run as low as $43 per person, per month, or about $172 for a family of four.
- Most Pediatricians Per Capita: Massachusetts This state has more than 165 pediatricians per 100,000 children, the highest ratio in the country.
- Most Breastfeeding Support: Boston There are 34 branches of La Leche League, a breastfeeding support network, in the metro area. Group leader Janna Frielich says Bean Town's many universities and medical institutions help spread a positive message about breastfeeding. "I've always felt like I could nurse anywhere I go with my baby," she says.
- Lowest C-Section Rate: Utah This state has the lowest cesarean rate at 17.2 percent, compared to 25 percent of all births in the country.