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Midwife Outraged Over Amendments

Dear Editor,

The third amendment was presented by Senator Slade Blackwelll (R-Birmingham) requiring all CPMs to pass the test required for Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) and add another member to the board of directors. He said, “My amendment was to increase the level of certification for the bill. What this will do is put it on the same level as a nurse-midwife has to pass. So to me, and my wife is a general surgeon,  she has gone through college, medical school, residency and all of these years of training. To deliver babies at home we just want to make sure that they have good certification.”

Senator Blackwell apparently has not looked at the training and difference between the CPM from the other types of Midwives.  If the CPM took the AMCB exam required by ACNM then they would be a Certified Midwife (CM). CMs are not able to practice home deliveries in this state as well.  SO then it would make sense to allow all of us to work in this state independently and work collaboratively with a hospital and/or birthing center and to carry our own liability insurance.  Senator Blackwell cannot compare a CPM or a CNM for that matter to his wife or her training.  WE chose not to go that route.  I know a Midwife in Africa that has delivered well over 10000 babies and is NARM certified.  She is one of the BEST!  Yes, the environment is different but she is very good at what she does because these women are experience trained.  The Medical Model has no place in the situation of CHILDBIRTH in low risk, healthy women.  We have so many tools now to make it safe, no mother goes into childbirth wanting to put herself or her child at risk.  The majority of babies were delivered at home before 1950 by a lay midwife.  These mothers that desire this type of care are typically very non-litigious related partially to the relationship with their Midwife.  They see the same person thru out the pregnancy.  There is a bond, a relationship.  They are usually well informed and well educated and/or just prefer to stay home.  Of my own patients, I have life long friends, we stay in touch, I see ‘my’ babies grow up, I get invited to weddings and graduations, I am part of their life and I delivered them in a MILITARY facility.  Thru out her pregnancy I cared for her, and delivered her; sometimes it meant staying thru the night and half the next day I was still there because she was.

“I cannot practice with the restrictions in the amendments,” said Jennifer Crook, CPM, MA,MPH who is with the Alabama Birth Coalition. She said that the restrictions in the first and third amendments would be prohibitive for her to practice in the state of Alabama.

Ms Crook, CPM, MA, MPH is a WELL EDUCATED individual who CHOSE not to go the traditional route to become a Midwife, but that does not make her unqualified or incapable to deliver a baby.  This means she truly LOVES what she does.  I have worked with many OB MDs, and CNMs that it is NOT a calling but they have the degree.  For pete’s sake babies can be delivered by EMTs, PAs, Dads, to name a few.  Babies themselves from midwife patients are very resilient because they are low risk healthy pregnancies.  Granted something can always “possibly” happen but they will even surprise you in the medical setting having FOLLOWED the medical model the entire time.  There are no guarantees in life.  But these Mothers CHOOSE this to be the best way for them and they should be supported.  And literature shows that Home births have a lower rate of dissatisfaction and litigation that do hospital births.  I APPLAUD Ms. Crook for all the personal time and effort that she has spent trying to give Mothers in Alabama the right that so many others before her have not, as well as something she loves and believes is the right thing!

A side note, ACNM Board Certified Midwives don’t get to practice what they love in this State, so we should be offering some type of support for mothers that choose an alternative to the Medical Model.

LTC (R) EuLynne Harrison, MSN, CNM

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