Saturday, January 26, 2008

Grassroots Network: PushDay News

From CfM President Susan Hodges:

I have just returned home from the Big Push for Midwives campaign launch in Chicago! The organizers of the campaign did a fantastic and very professional job! While not many media people actually showed up in person, the campaign contacted many many people in both local and national press, and the more the Big Push does, the more the media will pay attention. Also, all of you who blog, the more discussions there are on blogs, any blogs, about maternity care, CPMs and especially the Big Push for Midwives Campaign, the more likely the press is to pay attention.

The Big Push website is now live! It includes the contents of the Press Packet prepared for the launch yesterday, and just in, a wonderful statement by Ricki Lake supporting the Big Push campaign! More is being added to the website each day, so keep checking back. There will be reports (and photos!) of the various Rallies and other Push Day events that were held in quite a few states. Keep checking back!

Media coverage has varied. The good news is that The Big Push for Midwives launch was featured in the Chicago Tribune! The bad news is that the reporter mistakenly characterized CPMs as lay midwives. You can read the article here.

Katie Prown, Campaign Manager for The Big Push for Midwives 2008 wrote in an e-mail: Please, please, please flood the comments section with corrections. "Lay" means untrained. CPMs are not lay midwives, they're professional midwives. They're not lay practitioners, they're healthcare professionals. To refer to a CPM as a lay midwife is an oxymoron, just as it would be to refer to a Certified Nurse Midwife as a lay midwife. We need to hammer away at these points because the last thing we want is to fall into ACOG's trap of accusing us of promoting the licensure of "lay" providers.

So, COMMENTS and LETTERS to the editor are NEEDED as soon as possible! A link to post a comment is found at the end of the article.

At the same time, the Jan. 28 edition of NEWSWEEK has a great article: “Birth the American Way.”It focuses especially on the Business of Being Born but includes a quote from Jennifer Block and other good points. Don’t hesitate to write a letter to the editor of Newsweek!!! You can write a comment at the end of the article. I just checked, and there are A LOT of comments already, many defending cesarean sections! So, here is another opportunity to comment positively about normal, undisturbed birth with midwives, and correct misinformation. You don’t have to read all the comments the most recent ones will give you a sense of the conversation, and are likely to be the ones current viewers are reading. You can also write a letter to the editor (see a print copy of Newsweek for information on how to send in a letter).

Susan Hodges, “gatekeeper”


BirthRight Midwife (in training) said...

Lay does not always mean untrained. I take great offense to this.
the midwife who is training me is incredibly experienced, has been attending births for over 20 yrs and is uncertified by choice. I am luck to live in a state that is currently unregulated and I hope it stays that way. We can still attend twins, vbacs and breeches if the circumstances are right and that is the way it should be. Please don't ostracize midwives just because they choose not to carry the letters "CPM" after their names. Being certified does not always equal being better.

Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree with the previous comment:
"being certified does not always equal being better." On November 25, 2007, the Chicago tribune had an article on lay midwives that was confusing at best for the readers. I responded and was published in Voice of the People section of the Tribune on December 8 (you can read my response there).
I am a graduate student in the Nurse Midwifery program at University of Illinois. I strongly believe in the certification and regulation of midwives in Illinois. What I would like readers to know is that Certified nurse midwives are distinctly different from lay midwives. You DO need training in the physiology and medical aspects of birth in order to be the best midwife you can. It requires much more than just being precepted by someone and assisting in so many births. There is so much more to it than that. I hope that lay midwives never have a place to practice in Illinois. When something happens emergently in a birth setting, a lot is at stake, mother and/or baby's life. I would like to know that my birth attendant has more credentials behind her than being someone's apprentice.

BirthRight Midwife (in training) said...

My comment is in relation to Certified Professional Midwives and Uncertified Midwives or Lay Midwives. CNMs are a whole other thing. You have your own regulating agency and are in many ways seperate from CPMs and Lay Midwives.
Based on your comment it sounds as if you are against both, finding it superior to be a CNM.
I, personally, find many nurse midwives I know to be very medically minded to a fault, nurses first, midwives second. There are exceptions, but if I am going to birth in the hospital, I would much rather have a person with the authority to make decisions with me as the client, as opposed to someone who needs to get approval from their superiors (though they often mask as peers).
You might as well spend more money and become an OB. You will have more say, make more money and be able to be as interventive as you want. It sounds like you are headed that way anyways.

CfM Molly said...

Thank you for reading the blog, and sorry you that you felt offended by the post about the Big Push for Midwifery.

We can certainly agree that not being certified does not necessarily mean that a midwife is either untrained or inexperienced; and we acknowledge that licensing can restrict midwifery practice in ways that midwives do not always like.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary (online), lay means not of a particular profession (the lay public); also : lacking extensive knowledge of a particular subject.

If your midwife is incredibly experienced and has been attending births for over 20 years, she wouldn't really be considered a lay midwife either!

The post you were responding to did not say anything about uncertified midwives. It only pointed out that Certified Professional Midwives cannot by any stretch accurately be called "lay midwives." There is no question that CPMs are well-trained professionals. The problem is that the medical profession persists in calling CPMs "lay midwives" in a deliberate effort at denigrating CPMs. In states that are trying to enact licensing statutes to license CPMs, this is a significant problem, hence the request to object to this incorrect and misleading labeling of CPMs.

It is Citizens for Midwifery’s policy to support licensing and certification efforts for midwives (position statement can be found at

CfM Board