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Time to Legalize Midwives in Alabama

by: mooncat

Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 15:27:31 PM CST

In Alabama, it is only legal for a midwife to assist in the delivery of a baby in the hospital -- not much point to that.  A mother can legally give birth at home, but a midwife cannot legally assist there.  Some Alabama mothers even choose to drive to neighboring states so they can give birth where midwifery is legal and regulated.


This subject has come up in the Alabama legislature before, with no success, but 2008 is a new year with new hopes for safe, legal, home childbirth.

... a landmark 2000 study published in the British Medical Journal shows home birth is as safe as hospital birth for low-risk North American women and carries a much lower rate of medical intervention.

Moreover, the American Public Health Association has endorsed increasing access to midwife-attended out-of-hospital maternity care services since 2001.

For healthy women, it's a question of choice. Current Alabama law denies them that choice. As a consequence, some expectant mothers drive to Tennessee, where a midwife may legally attend a birth outside of a hospital.

Clearing the legal way for more babies to be born at home is not just a women's issue.  It's an issue for families and it has considerable bearing on controlling health care costs because birthing babies is a big business in this country, and Alabama parents have no safe alternatives to hospital birth.

There are two women on the Senate Health Committee, Sen. Coleman and Sen. Harri Anne Smith, and only one woman, Rep. Pebblin Warren, on the Health Committee in the House.  Midwifery aside, I think we need more women on those committees -- in fact we need more women in the Alabama Legislature, period. 

Here's the list of Alabama Representatives and Alabama Senators.   Call and lobby them to support these bills.  It's high time they got off their duffs and passed some useful legislation down there.

Visit the Alabama Birth Coalition for more on this subject. 


mooncat :: Time to Legalize Midwives in Alabama
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Thank you! (4.00 / 1)

As a mom of two, with another on the way, who homebirthed in FL I TOTALLY support the movement to legalize midwives.

Women ARE having their babies at home - if the government is TRULY concerned with our safety then they should legalize midwives to make sure we have experienced women there to help us!

Home birth in Florida (0.00 / 0)

Were you living in Alabama at the time?  I've heard of women who drive to Tennessee or Florida when the time comes to give birth and that sounds like a huge distraction for them and their families.  Plus, you are guaranteed to be far from your physician if it turns out hospitalization is needed.

It's just a crazy situation. 

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
Nurse-Midwives (4.00 / 1)

are one of the sub-specialties emergent in medicine. They generally start with an RN, fall in love with OB, and then take another two years  in their specialty. By the time they've qualified, they have the equivalent of an advanced degree.

Like Nurse-Anesthetists (many of whom are actually overseeing your anesthesia, whether you know it or not), they operate under the license of an MD they associate with, and if anything goes wrong, the chain of association gets you to a hospital quickly.

Another specialty is Nurse-Practioner, which is the equivalent of a Physician's Assistant. They can do basic assessments, diagnose, write some prescriptions, etc., under the license of the MD they work for. (For instance, kid with ear infection doesn't take the Mayo Clinic to assess, or write for).

Anesthesiologists in particular love them. Do the math. A Nurse Anesthetist makes maybe 60k a year (old figure) while the Anesthesiologist makes more like 700,000 a year. One anesthesiologist can have many NA's working under him, thus enabling him to charge his fancy rates to 10 people at a time, rather than being stuck in an OR all day with just a few patients. ^o^

I lived in Amish country for a few years some time ago, and all the Amish women had Midwives to attend them. I actually met a few midwives, and they were terrific people, and highly knowledgeable in their field. With the advent of the super bugs, I think that a normal, healthy baby born at home will have an advantage  over a baby born in a hospital. Gotta go natural, though. No epidurals or Caesarians from a Midwife, so you can't chicken out when the contractions start, girlfriend. ^o^

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. -Churchill



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