Please join Lamaze International and Science & Sensibility as we celebrate National Midwifery Week. Midwives can and should play an integral part of healthy and safe birth practices here in the United States and around the world. Maternal infant health organizations and consumers alike are now aware that we have reached a tipping point. Our cesarean rate is too high, the availability of VBAC supportive providers is dismal, the rate of inductions, particularly before 39 weeks is cause for concern, labor augmentations are commonplace and infant mortality – particularly amongst babies of color, in our country puts the United States ranking at an embarrassing 56 amongst all the other countries.
The midwifery model of care offers women and babies care by qualified, skilled health care providers who are experts at normal physiologic birth and meeting the needs of healthy, low risk, pregnant women. The midwifery model of care respects the shared decision making process between the mother and her health care provider, the importance of the mother’s emotional health as well as her physical health and recognizes pregnancy and birth as part of a woman’s normal lifecycle, rather than an illness or pathological condition. There is respect for the normal physiological process of birth, and the recognition that when things deviate from normal, collaboration and referral to obstetricians and other specialists is appropriate. When midwives have the opportunity to care for more healthy low risk women, the United States might start to see some of the dismal statistics reverse, and women and babies will benefit from the new trend.
The American College of Nurse Midwives has created a consumer website, Our Moment of Truth, where women can learn more about midwifery, increase awareness and understanding of the different care options available, make informed choices about the type of care they would like to receive and even find a midwife in their area. There is also a brochure available – “Normal Healthy Childbirth for Women and Families: What You Need to Know” to download in English and Spanish and share with your students and clients. This document and the ACNM program “Our Moment of Truth” was supported and endorsed by Lamaze International along with many other maternal infant health organizations.
The ACNM has a very nice “Essential Facts about Midwives” info sheet that contains some great statistics and information about Certified Nurse Midwives and Certified Midwives. Midwives can catch babies in hospitals, birth centers and at home and Medicaid reimbursement is mandated for CNMS/CMs in all 50 states. In 2012, CNMs/CMs attended over 300,000 births in the U.S. When you add in Certified Professional Midwives/Licensed Midwives who also attend births at birth centers and homes, the number of midwife attended births goes up even further.
ACNM has created a fun video highlighting midwives and the care they provide. I have also collected of a few of my favorite videos about midwives that you might enjoy viewing and sharing.
What are you doing to celebrate and honor midwives this week? Do you talk about the midwifery model of care in your childbirth classes and with your doula clients? What resources do you like using to help your students understand the scope of practice and benefits of working with midwives? Share with others in our comments below.