Home births increased by 29 percent between 2004 and 2009

posted Jan 26, 2012, 8:05 PM by Martha Nieset

CDC Finds Continued Increase in Home Births
Report Highlights Disparities in Access for Women of Color

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 26, 2012)—report released by the CDC today found a 29 percent increase in home births from 2004 to 2009. The rate of home births among non-Hispanic white women underwent a dramatic increase, while the rate for women of color decreased or remained stagnant, a trend that reflects racial and ethnic disparities in other areas of maternity care throughout the U.S. 

“Unfortunately, the women who could most benefit from out-of-hospital midwifery care are those who are least likely to have access to Certified Professional Midwives with the specialized training needed to provide it,” said Susan Jenkins, Legal Counsel for The Big Push for Midwives Campaign. “The CDC report and other research shows that babies born to women cared for by Certified Professional Midwives are far less likely to be preterm or low birth weight, two of the primary contributing factors not only to infant mortality, but to racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes.”

Barriers to out-of-hospital maternity care include laws in 23 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico that prohibit Certified Professional Midwives from practicing, as well as laws or policies in all but 11 of the remaining states that deny Medicaid coverage for home births managed by Certified Professional Midwives. 

“As we work to address disparities by increasing the cultural proficiency of midwives practicing in out-of-hospital settings and diversifying the midwifery work force, we also need to change laws nationwide so that all women have access to out-of-hospital maternity care with Certified Professional Midwives,” said Jenkins.

The Big Push for Midwives Campaign represents tens of thousands of grassroots advocates in the U.S. 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 and the general public 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: Katherine Prown (414) 550-8025katie@pushformidwives.org

CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db84.pdf
The Big Push for Midwives: http://pushformidwives.org 

NPR All Things Considered story  |  Jan 26, 2012: http://www.wbur.org/npr/145880448/home-births-grow-more-popular-in-u-s

Increase in home births shows need for new rules on midwives

posted Jul 29, 2011, 7:22 AM by Martha Nieset

Recent editorial in the Boston Globe about proposed legislation in Massachusetts which like Ohio has little oversight of midwives who perform home births.  Their new bill could make the home birth option even safer.

Giving Birth at Home: A Good Idea?

posted Jul 29, 2011, 7:13 AM by Martha Nieset   [ updated Jul 29, 2011, 7:19 AM ]

Recent article in the Atlantic by Maryland's first woman lieutenant governor, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

Home births on the rise in Ohio, and nationwide

posted Jul 5, 2011, 7:30 PM by Pam Bell

On the heels of the news that the home birth rate rose 20% between 2004 and 2008, The News Herald (a news service serving Northern Ohio) reports that many area midwives report a similar increase among home births in Ohio.

"The trend I'm seeing is higher home births," said Tvergyak. "The area midwife I work with said this is the busiest year she's ever had. With so many people out of work with no insurance, they're looking for alternatives."

You can read the full story here.

Why I chose a home birth

posted Jun 5, 2011, 10:14 AM by Martha Nieset   [ updated Jun 5, 2011, 10:21 AM ]

By Susan Heavey, Published: June 3, 2011 - The Washington Post

After 12 hours of labor, my son was almost here.

“I can do this!” I shouted. “You are doing it,” the nurses sang back. I reached down to feel his head and, with one final push, out he came into my arms and onto my bed. At home. On purpose.

“You hired two midwives, and they had you catch the baby yourself? You should get your money back,” one friend joked later.

But the truth is no amount of money could have bought what I received that day: an empowering birth that respected me and my baby.  

Read the full story here


Why Home Births Are Becoming More Popular

posted May 26, 2011, 7:09 AM by Martha Nieset

May 23, 2011 | 2:02 PM | By Rachel Zimmerman
(excerpt from the article)

Boston University School of Public Health Professor Eugene Declercq, an authority on childbirth trends and one of the study authors says this “natural” subculture-y characterization misses the point. The women who gave birth at home, researchers found, were mostly white, married and in excellent prenatal health. They were, in the language of labor and delivery, low-risk. Many had a post-graduate degree. And a lot of them had already given birth to one or more children, likely at a hospital. Declercq said that while this study was conducted by analyzing birth records, not through interviews, a previous study found that the top three reasons women gave for choosing home birth were:

1. Safety.
2. Avoidance of unnecessary medical interventions common in hospital births.
3. Previous negative hospital experience.

So, it’s fair to guess that at least some of the healthy, degree-wielding, not-so-crunchy women in the recent analysis chose home birth to avoid the “cascade of interventions” — including labor-inducing drugs and surgery — they’d endured previously at the hospital.


Professional midwives are a key option for health care

posted May 21, 2011, 9:47 PM by Martha Nieset


Recent article from North Carolina about the benefits of licensed Certified Professional Midwives.

Vermont requires private insurance companies to cover home births

posted May 19, 2011, 10:48 AM by Pam Bell

Why is it important to support licensing of Certified Professional Midwives?

It makes it easier for home birth advocates to push for legislation supporting insurance coverage of home births!  This is exactly what the state of Vermont did with a recent bill signed by Governor Peter Shumlin.  According to the Associated Press, "Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the bill into law on Wednesday surrounded by mothers and their babies born at home, saying access to midwifery care and home birth shouldn't be restricted to those who can afford to pay for it out of pocket."

Way to go, Vermont!

Read more about this exciting move in the Associated Press article.

Midwives Rally and Lobby Day 2011 is next week

posted May 17, 2011, 5:08 PM by Pam Bell

Dear Supporters,

Why is licensing Certified Professional Midwives in Ohio important to

Some of you have gone to great lengths and great expense to be
able to give birth at home with the care provider of your choice
despite the barriers to access in an unlicensed state. Some of you
have experienced firsthand the frustrations of working with a midwife
who is not recognized by the medical system. And all of us are looking
to the future, trying to ensure that our children and grandchildren
will have the option of safe, family-centered, evidence-based care
from licensed midwives when their own babies come into the world.


Please join us at next week's rally!

We hope to see many of you next week at our rally in Columbus!
Our event planning team has been working hard to get everything ready for
Wednesday, May 25th. If you have not yet signed up at
 http://safebirthohio.org, please let us know you're coming! You can
also help spread the word about our rally by forwarding this email to
your friends and family and posting the link to the event page on
Facebook. We don't want to miss anyone who might be willing to come
out to show our legislators how important it is for Ohio families to
have access to licensed CPMs. (If you have older children, this would
make a great educational field trip!)

Our Facebook group, Support Licensure for Certified Professional Midwives
in Ohio, has well over 1000 members. If you are not already
part of this group, please join today! If you are already a member,
please invite your Facebook friends who are not part of the group to
join us.


We're working to meet our fundraising goals.

We are thrilled to report that we are getting very close to our
fundraising goal for this month. At the beginning of May, we had run
out of money to pay our lobbyist and were in desperate need of
donations just to meet our obligation for April, to say nothing of
continuing our campaign. In the last two weeks, we have raised over
$5400! Thanks to your generosity, we have paid the lobbyist for April,
have the funds to pay for May, and are just a few hundred dollars away
from being able to pay for June as well. We're not quite there yet, so
please keep the donations coming! If you give $100 or more, you may
designate that your donation is in honor of a particular midwife and
we will recognize her on the safebirthohio.org website, on our
Facebook page, and at the rally.

Midwives who have been honored so far, with donations ranging from
$100 to $1000:

Karen McGee, CNM

(We have chosen to list only first names for unlicensed midwives on
the web page and in the newsletter.)


Thank you for your support, and we hope to see you in Columbus!



Pam Bell and Sora Colvin
Co-chairs, Ohio Families for Safe Birth

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