A New Campaign for Midwives

On January 24, 2008–“Push day” a new campaign to promote midwives, The Big Push for Midwives, was launched. It’s a campaign coordinated by a group of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) to promote the midwifery model of care.

Our goals are to fully integrate the Midwives Model of Care into the health care systems of our states, to highlight the importance of family healthcare choices and to defend the ability of CPMs to provide legal and safe prenatal, birth and postpartum care to families in every state.

Sounds good to me. There is a great map which explains what states allow the licensing of CPMs and which do not. I also appreciate coordinated advocacy campaigns, where different groups can learn from each others mistakes and accomplishments. It’s also really good timing–The Business of Being Born is getting a lot of attention and bringing new people to this issue and the crisis in maternity care continues to escalate.

CPMs differ from CNMs (certified nurse midwives) in that they aren’t registered nurses and don’t go through the same type of schooling and training. The laws and types of certification vary, but we’re not talking about little old ladies with no training at all. CPMs learn midwifery techniques through apprenticeship, coursework and lots of experience. They are also frequently required to pass certification exams.

I think this type of midwifery is important because I have fundamental problems with the modern medical education, particularly when it comes to birth. Even CNMs have to start their education as nurses, who learn the scientific model of birth that has created the maternity crisis we’re in today. They practice in hospitals and are forced to follow hospital regulations which are bad for birth,. Some of the reasons I have yet to become a midwife stem from this–I’m afraid to begin my education with the modern medical logic. But being a CPM, or a lay midwife, is difficult because of varying state regulations that determine where and how you can practice. That’s what this campaign is trying to change.

Great interview with a midwife from the campaign website.

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2 thoughts on “A New Campaign for Midwives

  1. Carla February 4, 2008 / 9:43 am

    All CNM’s do not buy into the medical model or work in hospitals. Many have been the champions of homebirth and alternatives to hospital birth. Many consider their midwifery practice separate from their practice as RN’s. When practicing in hospitals they are following protocols that they themselves help develop – not always “bad” for birth.

  2. radicaldoula February 4, 2008 / 9:49 am

    True! I definitely didn’t mean to question CNMs or the great work they do. They have been instrumental in bringing the respect for midwifery to the mainstream, bringing midwifery care to the hospital and earning doctor’s respect.

    For midwives who want that background I think the CNM route is a great option, but its important to have other paths out there as well, for those midwives who don’t want to become nurses, or prefer a different training altogether.

    And you’re right–hospitals aren’t ALWAYS bad for birth. But with only 1% of births happening outside the hospital today, I think any work that opens up more alternatives for women is a good thing.

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