Monday, April 22, 2013

Home births are becoming more common, but many states continue to make non-nurse midwifery illegal

Home births in the U.S. rose 28 percent from 2004 to 2009, but remain less than 1 percent of the total. About half the states don't have laws allowing the practice of midwifery, writes Kelli B. Haywood, a Lamaze certified childbirth educator and rural Kentucky resident, writes for the Daily Yonder. Home birth midwifery is prohibited in Kentucky, she writes, even though home births in the state rose 27 percent from 2004 to 2009, she reports. It is also illegal in Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Certified nurse midwives are legal in all 50 states, but are typically trained nurses who work at hospitals and rarely participate in home deliveries. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map)
For expectant mothers in rural Kentucky, home can be a better solution than going to a hospital, Haywood argues. Cristin Stanley-Potter, a mother of three who lives in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky, told her: “In all honesty, there isn't much to choose from. The obstetricians in our area do not provide evidence-based care. There are few to choose from in general, which means that each practice has a large number of patients and little attention is given to each one. I chose to give birth at home because I wanted a more personal experience, and I wanted the best care possible for myself and my child."

Of the 13 states with active legislation concerning midwifery licenses, seven have populations that are more rural than the national average – Alabama, Georgia, South Dakota, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, and North Carolina, Haywood writes.

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