Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Florida Celebrates National Licensed Midwives Week!


Governor Charlie Crist Signs Proclamation Heralding Midwives for Dedicated Care

SARASOTA, FL (October 5, 2009)
– Governor Charlie Crist signed a proclamation today observing October 5 through the 9 as Licensed Midwives Week in the State of Florida, upholding midwives for being “dedicated to the care of pregnancy and childbirth and treat[ing] each woman’s pregnancy according to her unique physical and personal needs.” Governor Crist’s proclamation also recognized midwives for their role in the need to “improve birth outcomes in the State of Florida and ensure that women are given proper care and treatment in all phases of childbirth.”

In honor of this week, Florida Friends of Midwives (FFOM), a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the practice of midwifery in Florida, will be hosting various community events throughout the state this month to celebrate the more than 110 Licensed Midwives in the Sunshine State.

Florida Licensed Midwives Week coincides with National Midwifery Week, a time to recognize
the contributions of Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), Certified Midwives (CMs) and Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) nationwide. The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM)
publicly announced the week with an introduction to midwifery. “The heart of midwifery care for women and newborns lies more in the nature of that care than in its specific components. Midwifery practice has a firm foundation in the critical thought process and is focused on the prevention of disease and the promotion of health, taking the best from the disciplines of midwifery, nursing, public health and medicine to provide safe, holistic care.”

Midwives have a long and valued history in Florida. The state first passed legislation to license direct-entry midwives in 1931. In the 77 years since, Florida’s licensed midwives have continued to tirelessly serve the families of Florida and to ensure the continued availability of safe, evidence-based birthing options for Florida’s families. In 1992, Governor Lawton Chiles declared the first-ever Licensed Midwives Week. More women than ever before are seeking out licensed midwives for maternity care. According to the latest data from the Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery, births managed by Licensed Midwives in the state grew by about 5.5% from 2005 to 2006.

“We are honored every day to serve Florida’s mothers, babies, and families,” says Sarasota Licensed Midwife Alina Vogelhut, LM. “It means so much for our profession to be honored by Governor Charlie Crist and the State of Florida.”

Midwifery in Florida

In Florida, two types of midwives are allowed to practice: Certified Nurse-Midwives and Licensed Midwives (a Florida state licensure), also known as direct-entry midwives. Throughout the state, about 11.2 percent of births are estimated to be managed by midwives, rather than by OB-GYNs. Many birth centers and midwives have reported a significant increase in business in the past year. This increase is believed to be a result of various factors, primarily a greater number of women seeking alternative birthing choices due to an unhealthy increase in cesarean sections and other unnecessary interventions that frequently occur in hospital
settings. In a 2006 report on Florida Licensed Midwives, midwives had a cesarean section rate of 6.3 percent compared to a 36.64 percent statewide average in hospitals the same year.

For more information of midwifery in Florida, please visit www.flmidwifery.org.

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