A Sad Day in New York

St. Vincent Hospital, in Greenwich Village, Manhattan closed its doors, and had it’s last mom deliver her baby yesterday morning. Very happy for her, very sad for the staff and the moms of NY. St. Vincent had been serving New York women for 160 years (!) but had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, finally closing its doors late Thursday.

St. Vincent Hospital was ‘extremely midwife friendly‘ and had an overall philosophy of ‘minimally invasive obstetrics.’ “The array of alternatives at St. Vincent’s, in Greenwich Village, was about as extensive as any pregnant women could want, whether you require a planned Caesarean or you want to give birth at home on your couch, it was geared for everything.”

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Now THIS is a Woman I Would Like To Meet!

Wow, holy (hopefully) similar lives batman! I just came across this great article about a woman, Martha Carter who has had an even crazier life trajectory than me. The best thing is that she’s done so much that is similar to what I hope to accomplish- always keeping her love of women, babies and health care somewhere in the equation.

Please read. It’s so fun to hear about a phenomenal woman and what they’ve put on their plates and managed to accomplish.

An Oldie, But a Goodie

When searching for ‘news’ about midwives today, I came across this article which was originally published in 2003. I have no idea how it popped up on this week’s google news, but it did. Named “An Illegitimate Birth” it chronicles the life path of a direct-entry midwife while simultaneously following a couple through prenatal care, and then a water birth. It was a beautifully written story. I should have guessed that it wasn’t from this day and age, as it’s rather lengthy and delves into the issues, and creates a mood-rather than just delivering sound bites. In my opinion, it’s a must-read for anyone considering midwifery as a profession, or a midwife assisted home birth. I wish I knew the name of the ‘real midwife’ as I would love to know what she is doing today. I looked up the current Illinois direct-entry midwife laws hoping they had changed, and found that indeed they haven’t but are (ironically?) back in the legislature THIS WEEK.

Home Births Officially on the Rise!

The National Vital Statistics Report on Trends and Characteristics of Home and Other Out-of-Hospital Births in the United States, 1990–2006 was released today.

statsDid you know that in 1940, 44% of births were home births? In 1969 (my birth year), the percent of home births was just 1% and has remained that low until recently. The trend of out-of-hospital birth (one that happens either at home or in a free-standing birthing center) has increased by 3% since 2004 (up until 2006-which is the latest data they have). In 2006, 61% of home births were delivered by midwives—16% by certified nurse midwives (CNMs), and 45% by other midwives.

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Science and Sensibility-Choice of Birth Place in the US.

The title says it all. Today, Medscape released a paper ‘Science and Sensibility’ outlining the recent studies related to the safety of home birth vs. hospital birth while discussing the barriers that home birth practitioners, and women who want home births are facing.

Recently, women are choosing or are interested in home births at a greater rate than in the past several decades. The paper discusses ‘planned home birth’, which refers “to the care of selected pregnant women by qualified practitioners within a system that provides for hospitalization when necessary.”

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Wyoming Taking First Step Toward CPM’s

Today it was announced that Wyoming is seriously considering passing a bill that would allow midwives to legally practice in the state.

A Virginia attorney, Andrew Emrich who moved to Wyoming was dismayed not to have the option of a home birth midwife when his wife became pregnant with their fifth child back in 2005. It was then he learned that ‘midwifery is illegal in Wyoming’.

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California? Why Say No to Midwives?

In California, what is supposed to be among the most ‘progressive’ of our 50 states, is banning certified nurse-midwives at at Camarillo Hospital– driven ‘by concerns of patient safety’. WHAT?

I guess they haven’t read the studies, or paid any attention to their own statistics. They cite the reason as ‘ doctors worry most about midwives who specialize in home births and rely on hospitals for backup when complications arise.’ But meanwhile, the midwives in question only do hospital birth. The change leaves only two hospitals in the county, St. John’s in Oxnard and Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, where midwives deliver babies.

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Oi! A Midwifery Set-Back in Australia.

On Nov. 9th their was a protest outside the Australian Prime Minister’s office.  Apparently the Australian government has announced its intention to make amendments to the Medicare for the Midwives Bill that will force private midwives who attend home births to work in collaboration with a doctor.

This excerpt from the report:

Australian College of Midwives president Jenny Gamble told protesters an amendment to the Medicare for Midwives Bill will give doctors the choice about how women give birth.

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Hospital Birth- Why Women Don’t Do It.

This opinion piece put out by notable Yale professors today slams the media for misrepresenting midwifery.

It is rebuttal directed at the recent ‘story’ aired on the Today show called “The Perils of Home Birth” (which was originally going to be titled “The Perils of Midwifery”.)

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Midwifery Wars

The American College of Certified Nurse Midwives (ACNM) and Midwives and Mothers in Action (MAMA) and other organizations that support Certified Professional Midwives (CPM’s)  appear to be having quite a tif.

In July, the ACNM submitted a letter to members of congress opposing Federal Recognition of CPM’s for serving Medicaid and Medicare recipients.  At first glance this might seem like a cat-fight, so I thought I would highlight the issues.

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