Saturday, February 23, 2013

License My Midwife

Image by Toby Blackwood

Eighteen months ago, I wrote a brief post about pending legislation in the Indiana House to license Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs). That bill passed the House Health Committee and was killed when it didn't come up for a full vote.

The legislation has been introduced again this year, and this year's bill, HB1135, has passed the House Health Committee and will be voted on this coming Monday, February 25.

The Indiana Midwives Association has been working for 20 years to promote and pass this legislation in Indiana. It is currently illegal for CPMs to practice and attend home births. Indeed, a CPM was arrested last year and is awaiting trial for attending a birth with a healthy outcome for both the mother and her baby.

HB1135 will legalize the practice of CPMs in the state of Indiana, the only birth professionals in the state who attend home births. Importantly, the licensure and regulation of CPMs will protect Indiana mothers and families choosing to birth at home by establishing standards of care, requiring collaborative relationships with physicians and tracking outcomes for home births, among other things.

CPMs are not lay midwives. They have multiple years of comprehensive academic and clinical experience, must pass national exams from their certifying agency, NARM, and must complete continuing education. CPMs are currently licensed or otherwise recognized in 27 states and are qualified Medicaid providers in twelve. Numerous scientific studies have attested to the safety and efficacy of home birth for low-risk pregnancies.

Every year, about 1000 women in Indiana give birth at home. Home birth in Indiana will continue, and the Indiana legislature needs to ensure that these women and families have legal and safe access to certified and licensed midwives.

A CPM provided all of my prenatal care and attended Ezra's birth. She was a highly skilled, knowledgeable and caring professional. We spent a considerable amount of time researching the safety of home birth before choosing to birth at home. For a more personal look at our decision to birth at home read Amanda’s post, Reflections on Midwifery, or Garry’s post, A Homebirth Dad.

This bill is important to us and we consider it morally unacceptable for the State to fail to recognize CPMs.

If you are a resident of Indiana who supports home birth, join the Facebook group Indiana Push for Midwives to learn what you can do to help support this legislation.

And from now through Monday, find your state representative and contact them to let them know you support this legislation.

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