What Is a Maternity Home?


Quick Answer

Maternity homes began during an era when having a baby as a single mother was taboo. Maternity homes were places were a young, single pregnant woman could live in secret while awaiting her baby's birth. Today, maternity homes support pregnant teens and homeless women by offering them a stable, healthy place to live.

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Full Answer

Maternity homes of today are operated for a variety of reasons: some privately run homes are operated solely as a form of charity, for the well-being of the mother and baby; some are operated for religious reasons like wanting to promote adoptions rather abortions; some work directly with adoptions agencies that require the baby to be given up for adoption at birth; and others are run by the state as a form of welfare, to ensure healthy outcomes for mothers and babies. Some offer a place to stay only during the pregnancy, while others offer an extended stay after the birth of the child. Maternity homes can be supported financially by private donations or they may apply for federal benefits including funding for the operation of the home, and food stamps and medicaid for its residents. In addition to housing, maternity homes provide medical care by a clinician, and some offer childbirth and life-skills classes and even employment training.

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