Friday, March 18, 2011

GRN: The Access to Certified Professional Midwives Act of 2011

Grassroots News Message 2011-03-18 no 2

Historic news from the MAMA Campaign: “The Access to Certified Professional Midwives Act of 2011” introduced in Congress. Citizens for Midwifery is a coalition partner in the MAMA Campaign and has been working hard to increase access to midwifery care for families through federal recognition of CPMs. We are thrilled to have reached this historic milestone. Read more from the MAMA Campaign below.

Like Grassroots News: New CPM Bill is a Milestone for Mothers and Midwives! on Facebook

CPM Bill Introduced: A Milestone for Mothers and Midwives!

Join the Celebration for HR 1054!

We are thrilled to announce that Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1) has introduced HR 1054, the “Access to Certified Professional Midwives Act of 2011” in the U.S. House of Representatives.
photo of Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1)
Photo of Rep. Chellie Pingree

“I believe it’s important that women are able to have the birth experience they want, regardless of where they live and how much money they make. That is why it’s important that women with Medicaid coverage have the same access to high quality, safe, and cost-effective services,” Congresswoman Pingree said. The Congresswoman is known in Maine and Washington, DC as a sensitive, independent voice for social and health issues that affect families everywhere.

The Midwives and Mothers in Action (MAMA) Campaign expresses our sincerest appreciation to Congresswoman Pingree and celebrates this milestone in the history of direct-entry midwifery in the United States.

MAMA is also deeply grateful to Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI-4) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA-7) for their support and leadership in co-sponsoring HR 1054 with Representative Pingree.

Increasing women’s access to the care of CPMs will support better outcomes for mothers and babies, reduced disparities in outcomes for vulnerable populations, and provide significant cost savings for Medicaid and the health care system.

We are most grateful to Representative Pingree for her vision and support for childbearing women and their families.

This is Your Milestone!

Your support, your letters to members of Congress, meetings with your legislators in Washington, DC and in-district, and all of the dollars that you have contributed to this cause have made possible the introduction of HR 1054. You should be proud of yourselves – the MAMA Campaign Steering Committee thanks you!

Now the Work Begins….

MAMA will be counting on your energy and involvement in the coming weeks and months as this train gains steam and we forge ahead to garner the support of Congress for enacting HR 1054 into law. Our next steps include securing additional co-sponsors, obtaining support from the leading advocates for change in maternity care, raising the funds, and motivating the volunteers necessary to see this campaign through to victory. Together we will steadily move this important piece of legislation forward, Congress member by Congress member, for the benefit of women and babies.

Coming Soon From MAMA:

  • Letter-writing guidelines for soliciting your Congress members to become co-sponsors
  • Invitations to participate in visits to the Hill in Washington, DC and organize in-district visits to your Representatives
  • Advice on how you can become more involved as the MAMA Campaign gathers support in key Congressional committees

MAMA’s New Look

MAMA is getting a “make-over” with a new color scheme, updated logo and website and a fresh look to our materials. Check MAMA out at We’re also implementing a new web platform that will make it easier for us to stay in touch with you and for you to post your thoughts, write your representatives, and make donations to the campaign.

MAMA Is Growing

With the introduction of HR 1054, MAMA is seeking to hire a self-starting, energetic, and driven team member as Administrative Assistant to the Campaign. Take a look at the Job Posting and help us find the right person to provide this support to the Campaign.

Keep MAMA Going in 2011!

Just one year ago, MAMA celebrated a significant victory in our campaign for federal recognition of CPMs! Since that time, we have been working quietly to secure the initial sponsors of HR 1054 and solicit support from major donors who understood the need to invest in MAMA’s long-term success. As a result, we are already halfway toward meeting our expenses in 2011! Now we need the support of our grassroots – mothers and fathers, grandparents, midwives, doulas, and other advocates – to keep our momentum going. Please celebrate with us – show Congress you care, too – by making your contribution today. We will put your dollars to work, making a difference for mothers and babies! Together we can move mountains!

 Donate Today!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

GRN: ACOG Is Not Qualified to Evaluate the Practice of Midwives

Grassroots News Message 2011-03-16

"ACOG Is Not Qualified to Evaluate the Practice of Midwives"

March 11, 2011
Grassroots Network Message
ACOG Releases Opinion on Homebirth

Hello Friends,

After a January press release announcement, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) officially issued its current statement on the safety of homebirth in February (ACOG, 2011.). The numerous challenges posed by a physician’s trade organization releasing an opinion about homebirths (which most obstetricians do not attend), based on unsound research, will be explored below.

In the statement, ACOG acknowledges that they “respect the rights of a woman to make a medically informed decision about delivery,” but again asserts its long-held belief that hospitals and birth centers are the safest settings for birth.

ACOG’s opinion on homebirth is based largely on results from a poorly conducted, scientifically weak meta-analytic review (Wax et al., 2010).

This paper has been roundly criticized for its methodological flaws and shortcomings, rendering its conclusions inaccurate at best. You can check out these links for critiques:

The Big Push
Science and Sensibility
Our Bodies Our Blog
Midwifery Today

That ACOG would use poor quality science is a testament to the fact that ACOG is a private trade organization, not a scientific organization, whose primary goal is to support the interests of its members (for more on this). Perhaps even more important, ACOG, as a group, lacks any comprehensive knowledge of or experience with midwifery practice. ACOG is not qualified to evaluate the practices of midwives given the vast differences between modern obstetric practice and midwifery practice. Most obstetricians have never observed a single woman labor and give birth without any medical intervention, let alone in her own home. It is essential to keep these considerations in mind when evaluating recommendations from a trade organization such as ACOG.

While ACOG’s opinion on homebirth is not surprising, it is important to consider the potential negative impact it could have on the future of women’s access to homebirth. Some may recall the 1999 ACOG practice bulletin recommending that VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean) only be attempted in hospitals with immediately available emergency surgical teams. This recommendation had an immediate (and long lasting) chilling effect on the number of VBACs occurring in the United States (see the figure below, reprinted from Roberts et al., 2007.). If ACOG’s statement on homebirth is used to set policies in the same way that the VBAC opinion was, access to homebirth could be jeopardized for many women for a long time to come.

In the statement, ACOG asserts that several of the current, well-conducted empirical studies illustrating the safety of homebirth cannot be generalized to the United States, given that they were conducted in countries in which midwifery is well integrated into the health care system. In light of this assertion, we call on ACOG as well as national and state medical societies to understand that criticism and to begin to support (rather than obstruct) efforts to license and integrate well-trained professional midwives into main stream health care delivery in the United States.

Lauren Korfine, PhD
for CfM


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Committee on Obstetric Practice (2011). Committee Opinion: Planned Home Birth, Obstetrics and Gynecology, 117(2), 1-4

Roberts, R. G., Deutchman, M., King, V. J., Fryer, G. E., & Miyoshi, T. J. (2007). Changing policies on vaginal birth after cesarean: impact on access. Birth, 34, 316-322

Wax, J.R., Lucas, F.L., Lamont, M., Pinette, M.G., Cartin, A., Blackstone, J. (2010). Maternal and newborn outcomes in planned homebirth vs. planned hospital births: A metaanalysis. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 243, e1-8.)

From Roberts et al., 2007. Number of births by cesarean section over time. Note the sharp decline in VBACs after 1999, the year ACOG issued its VBAC practice bulletin that lead to VBAC bans in many hospitals.



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If you find news, resources, or other valuable information that you think should be posted on the Grassroots Network, please send it to info@cfmidwifery. org... with "For the grassroots network" in the subject line. We will definitely consider using them!

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Breech Resources

I got the following information from a birth email list I belong to and thought these resources were interesting/valuable:

Great photos of a breech home birth (mother kneeling) with Australian Midwife
Lisa Barrett

New organization for the UK promoting education in Breech Birth for Midwives and
Obstetricians and Informed Consent for mothers. Stories invited.

PowerPoint by Shawn Walker RM as well.

CfM Blogger

Monday, March 7, 2011

International Women's Day

"If ever the world sees a time when women shall come together purely and simply for the benefit of humanity it will be a power such as the world has never known." --Matthew Arnold

"I long to speak out the intense inspiration that comes to me from the lives of strong women." –Ruth Benedict

Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the first International Women's Day. For more information about celebrating check out the International Women's Day website. Or, visit the Imagine a Woman website to read this blog post or to check out this handout about 50 things to do to celebrate International Women's Day, Women's History Month, yourself, and the women who inspire you.

To bring it back to birth, you might also enjoy watching these helpful midwifery/birth videos from strong women on the Midwifery Today youtube channel.

I believe that these circles of women around us weave invisible nets of love that carry us when we're weak and sing with us when we're strong.” --SARK, Succulent Wild Woman

"Loving, knowing, and respecting our bodies is a powerful and invincible act of rebellion in this society." --Inga Muscio

In honor of International Women's Day---and every day---let us celebrate our bodies, honor our mothers, and trust in the nets of love woven around us by a multitude of remarkable, powerful, everyday women.

CfM Blogger
(photo from my blessingway in January 2011, 38 weeks pregnant with my baby girl!)