Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Support Midwifery in Mississippi!

The Facts:

1. Mississippi Friends of Midwives is a grassroots effort to protect and promote midwifery and out-of-hospital birth in the state of Mississippi.

2. House Bill 207, sponsored by Brandon Jones,  has been filed and assigned to the Public Health and Human Services Committee in the Mississippi House of Representatives.  

3. In short, this bill would create a Licensed Midwifery Board within the Department of Health.  The Licensed Midwifery Board would set guidelines and stipulations for midwives providing assistance to out-of-hospital births in Mississippi.

4. Midwifery in Mississippi is completely unregulated at this point in time.

The Emotions:

1. Women deserve options.  Yes, most women choose to give birth in the hospital.  But for women who prefer the Midwifery Model of Care and trust their body's innate ability to give birth, an out-of-hospital birth needs to be a real and viable option.

2.  In 2008, Mississippi had a cesarean section rate of 37.1%, ranking my state as #4 in the nation for number of cesareans performed.  Personally, I don't like those odds of leaving the hospital with a newborn in my arms while recovering from a major abdominal surgery.  By choosing a midwife-attended homebirth, I drastically reduced my chance of having a c-section.

3. Homebirth doesn't have the best rap in the US.  American College of Gynecology (ACOG) and American Medical Association (AMA) have released statements against giving birth outside of a hospital setting.  But, any woman who has experienced natural childbirth knows that American women's bodies are not broken, even though our cesarean rate and childbirth morbidity and mortality is sky high.  Homebirth is common and highly regulated in European countries.  If European women can have normal births, we can too!

4. There will always be women  who choose to give birth at home.  These women will be safer if midwifery is regulated and monitored.  When Taylor and I chose our midwife we interviewed her and I spoke to several references.  We really had to go with our gut to trust her abilities.  When midwifery is regulated, it will be as easy as visiting the Mississippi Department of Health's website in order to gain information on local midwives that are licensed and up-to-date with their training and certifications.  

What Can You Do?

1. Become a fan of Mississippi Friends of Midwives on Facebook to follow the bill on it's way to becoming law.

2. Contact your legislators and let them know that their constituents are in support of regulated midwifery in Mississippi.

3. Make a donation to the Mississippi Friends of Midwives.

4. Remember  birth is important!

UPDATE:  Sadly, HB 207 died in senate committee.  I am so impressed with the women of MFoM and their support and enthusiasm for out-of-hospital birth.  We are sure to get our law soon!


TheSandersFamily said...

Great post ;)

I've had a "midwifery in MS" post saved and formulating all week, but cant get my act together enough to finish it.

TheDearmanFamily said...

This one has been in my mind for a while but it took me a while to figure out how to organize my thoughts.

Looking forward to your post!

Imogen (alternative-mama.com) said...

I cant even imagine what it must be like for the Midwifery Model of Care to not be the norm. Here in the UK, everyone gets taken care of by midwives. High risk mamas are under consultant care but most still see a midwife for the majority of their antenatal care and midwives are pretty much always present at every delivery.

It's about time the US caught up. dont even get me started on the ridiculous excuse for maternity leave you guys get.

TheDearmanFamily said...

Imogen, I think the 35% c-section rate says it all. The system is broken and American women and babies are the ones getting hurt.

I'm not sure what it will take for America to figure out the simple fact that more interventions do not equal a better outcome.

It is very scary to think what America's birth culture will look like by the time Liza is ready to have her own babies.

And yeah, maternity leave is a whole other post is and of itself.