THE NUMBER of U.S. women staying at home after childbirth — instead of returning to work or seeking employment — has been on the rise. About 3.9 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 gave birth between July 1999 and June 2000.

Still at home at least a year after childbirth

45%

41%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, cited by Associated Press, Oct. 18