I was thrilled to be part of a process in our state by which we as citizens can participate in the legislative process yesterday. The Arizona Department of Health Services has started an Open Meeting process with the Midwifery Scope of Practice Advisory Committee.
The stated goal of this committee is to review and update the rules and regulations that govern Lay Midwives and Certified Professional Midwives that practice in the state of Arizona. As a consumer, am hopeful that they will be modernized to reflect current evidence-based practices.
Historically, there has been animosity and prejudice between midwives and obstetricians. When it comes to homebirth advocates, the stance is that birth is safer at home; the other side argues that birth is safer in a hospital. Both sides are correct. In healthy, low-risk pregnancies, a birth at home is perfectly safe. There are circumstances in which a birth at a hospital is the best choice. And then there is a chasm, a gray area, in which births can go either way.
However, the forgotten component here is: what does the consumer want? Even if her risks are higher in one place or the other, where does the birthing mother feel the safest? Where does she want to choose to give birth to her child(ren)?
The truth is that in the “land of the free”, women of Arizona are shackled in their birth choices. The only option for a mother who has a breech baby, who is carrying multiples, and who has a history of previous cesarean is birth in a hospital setting. (At least now, in many cases, access to Certified Nurse Midwives is growing, so that a woman can still have midwifery care in a hospital setting. Even so, they are a considered a threat by some OB's). In some places, women with previous cesareans are not even allowed a trial of labor. They are forced to have repeat cesareans, despite evidence that best practice should be to allow women to labor for a vaginal birth.
Is every birth outcome going to be perfect? No. That is unrealistic. However, each woman should have the option to approach the care provider of her choice to have the conversation about the possibility of having her birth wishes honored and come to fruition. If a woman is willing to assume the risk of any of these births at home, and if she can find a homebirth midwife who is willing to travel that path with her, then they, as two consenting adults, should have the right to enter into that contract together without fear of repercussion from the state in which they live.
What I suspect is missing from the discussion is the understanding that no mother and no care provider would knowingly and willingly endanger the life of a child. A mother knows her mind. A care provider knows their abilities. If the two do not mesh, then a different choice will be made, a choice that ensures the safety of the child.
Here is my speech from yesterday during the “Call to Public” portion of the meeting. As a mother who carried a breech baby, I felt that I could speak to that aspect of the law:
I hope that you will do some reading, visit the Rights for Homebirth webpage and Facebook page. Get involved. You have a voice. The Arizona Department of Health is listening.
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It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.