Thursday, July 27, 2006

Alabama Midwives: Going Natural

The Huntsville Times has a really good article, Alabama Midwives: Going natural which proclaims "area women willing to travel to Tennessee to have natural childbirth.":
A 1976 rule change effectively ended planned home births in Alabama by limiting the practice of midwifery to certified nurse midwives - registered nurses with extensive childbirth training. They can deliver babies only at a hospital and must be supervised by a doctor.
Because Alabama does not sanction CPMs, they can be charged with practicing certified nurse midwifery without a license if they are caught delivering babies here. That has happened at least twice since 1995.

"For many people, midwifery is a calling, and here's the state saying, 'Oh no, you can't do this,' " said [Chloe] Raum, who is apprenticing at the Ardmore birth house. "They can't recognize that birth can be managed in a dramatically different way (than hospitals) and have just as good or better outcomes.

"We try to be very respectful and nice and quietly educate people."

While state health officials say a hospital is the safest place to have a baby and the vast majority of parents are happy to go that route, midwife births are slowly gaining in popularity. According to government statistics, midwives delivered 328,153 babies in 2003 - about 8 percent of children born in the United States that year. That's up from 7.4 percent of all births in 1998.

The trend is being fueled in part by a study published last year in the British Medical Journal that concluded planned home births are as safe as hospital births for healthy women, with less chance that the labor will end in a Caesarean-section surgical delivery.
No discussion in the article of legislative efforts, however.


Anne said...

Sorry I'm late weighing in on this. I live in Alabama and sort of follow this. The midwives in Alabama are not unified on the desirability of this, and while I see the grassroots supporters being mobilized, much work is left to be done, and it will be harder without each midwife wanting to do this and encouraging their clients to get on the bandwagon.

IME when the grassroots goes against a Goliath like the medical association, they better have their supporters lined up. The Alabama legislature is probably too dumb and too bought-out to see the illogic of ACOG's arguments, i.e., homebirth is unsafe, but um.... there are no studies to that effect, just our policy statement.

JeniBeans said...

Hi there.
I am a mother of 4 and the last one was a home / waterbirth. I live in North Alabama and drove about 30 minutes away to deliver in a home environment. I am in full support of these midwives and what they stand for and believe in. I hope to be able to attend the upcoming event regarding the bill about legalizing Alabama homebirths.

This was a great article.

This is the way that babies have been coming into the world since the world began and there were more than 2 females on the planet, I'm sure.

I could go on and on, but I just wanted to toss out some support from my corner of the state.