Thursday, February 19, 2009

Number of Health Care Organizations In Support of Certified Professional Midwives and Out-of-Hospital Birth Rapidly Increases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Physician Groups Out-of-Step as the Number of Health Care
Organizations In Support of Certified Professional Midwives
(CPMs) and Out-of-Hospital Birth Rapidly Increases

Nurses, Perinatal Health Care Specialists Echo Consumer Reports
Magazine in Calling for Integrating Midwives into U.S.
Maternity-Care System

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 17, 2009)Two major health care
organizations have joined the growing number of groups calling on
policy makers to increase access to Certified Professional
Midwives (CPMs) and out-of-hospital maternity care. Acknowledging
the large body of evidence supporting the safety of home delivery
with CPMs, who are specifically trained to care for mothers and
babies in out-of-hospital settings, nursing and perinatal health
care organizations criticized the American Medical Association
(AMA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
(ACOG) resolutions calling for bans on CPMs and home birth. The
groups also joined Consumer Reports magazine in highlighting the
need for a major overhaul of the U.S. maternity care system.

I am very proud to be an American, but I am embarrassed that
our country, founded on the ideals of individual liberty and
freedom, can also support ‘authoritative’ initiatives
such as these by the ACOG and AMA, initiatives that are founded
on neither science nor an understanding of the physiologic and
psychosocial needs of mothers and babies,” said Nancy K. Lowe
in an editorial published in the Journal of Obstetric,
Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, the official journal of the
Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
(AWHONN). “What is most risky about home birth in the United
States is that for most women who desire it there is a scarcity
of qualified providers of home birth services.” [Read the
complete editorial at:\ STARTCRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

Consumer Reports magazine cited the desire for economic gain as
one of the driving forces limiting access to CPMs and Certified
Nurse-Midwives (CNMs), who are licensed in all 50 states and
practice primarily in hospital settings, but who remain subject
to anti-competitive regulations promoted by the AMA and ACOG.
CPMs are legally authorized to provide out-of-hospital care in
just half the states, while advocates working to reform the law
in the remaining states face stiff resistance from physician
groups seeking to establish a monopoly on the maternity care
market in the U.S.

Midwives provide a safe and cost-effective alternative to
the current model, where the market is dominated by high-cost,
high-tech specialists producing less-than-optimal outcomes,”
said Katie Prown of The Big Push for Midwives Campaign.

Babies delivered by midwives are far less likely to be
pre-term or low birth-weight, which are two of the leading causes
of neonatal mortality and of the enormous costs associated with
long-term care. Midwives and out-of-hospital birth are an
integral component of responsible health care reform, and the AMA
and ACOG know this. That’s why they’re fighting so
desperately to protect their turf, even if it means denying women
maternity-care options in the process.”

The National Perinatal Association (NPA) added to the growing
list of organizations calling on the AMA and ACOG to end their
vendetta against midwives and home birth and instead follow the
World Health Organization’s (WHO) call to “‘work in a
spirit of recognition and respect for each other’s authority,
responsibility, ability and unique contribution.’” [See
their statements on place of birth and on midwifery at:]

The Big Push for Midwives is a nationally coordinated campaign to
advocate for regulation and licensure of Certified Professional
Midwives (CPMs) in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and
Puerto Rico, and to push back against the attempts of the
American Medical Association Scope of Practice Partnership to
deny American families access to legal midwifery care. Through
its work with state-level advocates, the Big Push is helping to
build a new model of U.S. maternity care built on expanding
access to out-of-hospital maternity care and CPMs, who provide
affordable, quality, community-based care that is proven to
reduce costly and preventable interventions as well as the rate
of low birth-weight and premature births.

Media inquiries: Steff Hedenkamp (816) 506-4630,