RALEIGH, NC (February 28, 2011) Midwife and home birth supporters from around the state plan to gather at the Capitol on Wednesday March 2nd at 10:00 am, and march to Jones Street ending at the State Legislative Buildings in support of licensing Certified Professional Midwives, and expanding access to care for North Carolina families that choose midwifery care and the home setting for birth.
"Right now a fully trained and credentialed Certified Professional Midwife who can legally practice in Virginia,Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida is at risk for being arrested for providing the same quality care in North Carolina. This is not right, and makes North Carolina home birthing families less safe," said Russ Fawcett,Legislative Chair for North Carolina Friends of Midwives. "Hopefully, the North Carolina General Assembly will recognize that the safety of NC home birthing families is at stake, and they will pass legislation to licenseCPMs with purpose."
A Centers for Disease Control National Health Statistics report released in March showed a five percent increase in demand for out-of-hospital midwife births in 2005 across the United States. In North Carolina,homebirths increased by 32 percent from the 2003-2004 period to the 2005-2006 period analyzed. This new data increases the urgency for passing the current pending legislation in North Carolina to license and regulate Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs).
"Now more than ever it is crucial that North Carolina's home birthing families have access to trained midwives,"said Russ Fawcett, Legislative Chair for North Carolina Friends of Midwives. "Midwife attended planned homebirths have dramatically increased in North Carolina in the past few years. Each year, more North Carolina families choose out-of-hospital birth for many reasons. These families deserve safe and affordable maternity care, and the midwives who provide it deserve legal recognition."
Currently, there are no laws in North Carolina to regulate CPMs, who deliver babies in private homes and freestanding birth centers. Studies show that low-risk women who plan home births under the care of CPMshave outcomes equal to low-risk women who deliver in the hospital, but with far fewer costly and preventable interventions. A study commissioned by the Washington legislature found that during the last five years alone,the state's licensed midwives saved taxpayers and private insurers more than $10 million.Consistent with the medical literature on the safety of home birth under the care of Certified Professional Midwives, the CDC report also found significantly reduced rates of pre-term and low-birth weight in out-of hospital populations. Certified Professional Midwives, who specialize in promoting optimal maternal health andwho deliver the majority of U.S. babies born in private homes and freestanding birth centers, provide intensive,individualized pre-natal care that focuses on prevention and risk assessment. The authors of the report identify appropriate risk assessment as a likely factor in the reduced rates of pre-term and low-birth weight in out-of hospital settings.
North Carolina Friends of Midwives is a grassroots organization of midwife advocates dedicated to promoting,supporting, and protecting midwifery in North Carolina. North Carolina is a priority for The Big Push for Midwives Campaign, representing tens of thousands of grassroots advocates in the United States who support expanding access to Certified Professional Midwives and out-of-hospital maternity care. The mission of The Big Push for Midwives is to educate state and national policymakers about the reduced costs and improved outcomes associated with out-of-hospital maternity care and to advocate for expanding access to the services of Certified Professional Midwives, who are specially trained to provide it. Media inquiries about North Carolina