January 24th is "Pushday" in the campaign to help recognize Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, known as the Big Push for Midwives. Currently, only 24 states legally recognize CPMs as licensed medical providers. By recognizing CPMs as the legitimate, trained professionals that they are, this will improve maternity care for all women and allow many women who wish to birth at home or in a freestanding birth center the option.
Some women don't have choices in maternity care other than a highly managed obstritian's office. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but some women want a different kind of maternity care that is just as safe and effective as traditional OB care. Some of these women have the choice of going it alone (unassisted childbirth or UC) or using an OB. I support unassisted childbirth for women who choose it and educated in their decision, but I don't support it as the only alternative to overmanaged OB care. Women should have real chocies when it comes to birth.
In areas where the is no recognition of CPMs, women who choose midwives for their homebirths will have to use midwives that are unlicensed and uninsured, so it is more difficult for them to find out if there have been problems with their midwife in the past, and they can continue to practice even if they have a "bad record" since they don't have a license to suspend in the first place. And good midwives in these states can be prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license, even though in many cases they are more trained and experienced in normal childbirth (and sometimes even more complicated vaginal childbirth, such as breech, twin deliveries and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), which are increasingly not allowed in a hospital setting) than other birth professionals who are granted licenses. CPMs are required to go through schooling to get the certification, and also assist other midwives and attend a minimum number of births before being tested and granted the title of CPMs.
Women deserve real choices in birth! I chose a CPM for both of my births. Lacy was born at home, and while my sister, who was there, will claim that it was a scary experience (Lacy was a little blue but she pinked up right away and I passed out a couple times, which was no biggie for the midwife who handled it beautifully by administering a little oxygen which she carries with her in her birth supply kit), to me it was a wonderful birth experience, despite the minor hiccups we experienced. I was able to have a waterbirth, which wasn't available at the hospital at the time, which reduced my pain and the length of my labor. Rose was a more complicated birth, and my wise midwife knew when to transfer me to the hospital. Although she was confident with her abilities, she knew with the complications I was experiencing, it could quickly turn into a real emergency which would require a stat c-section, so we went to the hospital. Thankfully, Rose's heartrate when down when my water was broken at the hospital and I didn't experience cord prolapse like she feared would happen if my water was broken at home, so I didn't need surgery and ended up with a nice hospital birth with my midwife by my side. I want all women to be able to choose competent and caring midwives, so I support the Big Push for Midwives and encourage all of you to do so, too.
What you can do: Write to President Obama and ask him to include CPM's in federal healthcare reform. You can use either of these websites to send him a message:
Just copy and paste this: Please be sure to include Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs), who specialize in providing out-of-hospital maternity care, in federal healthcare reform.
Thank you, dear readers!