Santa Fe Has a Birth Center!

In April 2014, The Birth Center at Southwest CARE opened their doors!  The birth center is part of the Southwest Care Center non-profit organization that has historically served the HIV and Hepatitis C population and has more recently expanded to include family medicine and women’s health.  The company is pleased to offer another birthing option to Santa Fe women in a community that up until now has had only hospital and home birth as available choices for birth.

The center is staffed by two Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM),  Maite Redondo Cladera and Lori Pearson Kramer.  Maite was formerly employed as a Nurse Practitioner and CNM at La Familia Medical Center in Santa Fe, and was the first midwife to secure privileges at St. Vincent Hospita back in 2008.  She is now the Associate Director of the birth center and has been instrumental in creating and implementing the vision.  Lori was working as a CNM in Las Vegas, NM and had a small home-birth practice prior to the center’s opening.

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International Day of the Midwife

Tomorrow, May 5th is Cinco de Mayo, but more importantly it’s International Day of the Midwife. The International Day of the Midwife is an occasion for every midwife to think about the many others in the profession, to make new contacts within and outside midwifery, and to raise awareness of what midwives do for the world. There’s a bunch of stuff going on online to commemorate the day.
IDM2010.JPG If you know or love a midwife, or midwifery, tomorrow is the chance to spread the word, and spread the love.

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.

Health Care Reform will Help Moms and Babies.

Democrats were successful at passing the first major health care legislation since the New Deal. This is great news for moms and babies. The law has added the following provisions related to maternal/pregnancy and birth health care:

Medicaid reimbursement will be available for Certified Professional Midwives working in licensed birthing centers. I am hoping this will open up the door for midwives to open up birthing centers all across the nation, allowing low income women living in rural and underserved areas better access to midwifery-based maternal and child care. This is a win-win situation for women and midwives-hopefully providing choices in health care that more effectively address the cultural differences in the communities where these women live. When women feel honored, and are being cared for and served by providers that understand their culture, language and social norms, it will create an environment of support and empathy-rather than one that may leave women feeling scared and powerless at a very vulnerable time in their lives. Midwives can now effectively serve these women knowing that their work will be paid for by insurance.

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Taiwan Midwives-Extinction Inevitable

I usually don’t write too much about international stories as there is so much going on right here in the ol’ US of A, but this story really hit a nerve as it sheds some light on our own midwifery history.

Taiwan used to have a rich and thriving midwifery profession since at least the late 19th century and probably much before that. It is estimated that midwives delivered 400,000 babies annually up until the 1960’s. With the advent of economic prosperity in the 1970’s and the introduction of socialized health care in 1995, many proverbial nails have been put in the midwifery coffin, so much so that the state is planning to cancel the midwifery licensing exam all together as only 7 people in the entire country signed up to take it this year. Where there used to be 20 midwifery schools, now only one remains. Of the 300 registered midwives, only about 1/2 are practicing- delivering maybe a dozen babies a year. It’s very sad.

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Hawaii Hospital Happy with Midwives-Advocacy was Key.

Kaiser Permanante, a large hospital chain, recently introduced a new nurse-midwifery program to their Hawaii hospital. The nurse-midwives work in a team with doctors where the midwives are assigned to women who are expected to have a normal, uncomplicated birth. The doctors are available should any unforeseen situation arise. So far, the birthing women love the new arrangement and the doctors are ‘ecstatic’. WOW! That’s just great! It’s just another example of how changes in approach and attitude can work wonders in the favor of birthing women, midwives and doctors. It didn’t hurt that the head of obstetrics at KP saw the integration of midwives as “a big dream I had from years ago.” He was partially trained by midwives while in residency, and midwives have been an integral part of the team at several hospitals he worked at.

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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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