Dear Maryland Legislators,
My children were born at home (on purpose!) with the help of skilled and compassionate midwives. Unfortunately not every family in Maryland has this option because there are too few homebirth midwives. There is a bill this year to license Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) which will allow families that choose homebirth to use these birth experts to deliver their babies. CPMs are certified by The North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). Currently in Maryland, only Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) are licensed to attend women in their homes or birth centers. CNMs routinely turn clients away due to full practices. Maryland has only one freestanding birth center.
Homebirth is a safe option for mothers, in fact, for low risk deliveries it is safer than a hospital birth. Comparisons between hospital and homebirth data demonstrates that homebirths have fewer intervention. The average Cesarean rate in Maryland hospitals is almost 30%. Less than 1% of homebirths end in transport to a hospital and C/S. And lets not even talk about the rate of infections at hospitals. Licensing CPMs will make it even safer by enabling CPMs to transfer care to other providers and the hospital when needed, without fear of prosecution. Licensing will ensure that CPMs have access to lifesaving medications so that they can immediately respond to rare but serious complications.
By passing this legislation, Maryland will join 26 other states that allow CPMs to practice legally. This is a smart move for the state. Licensing CPMs will reduce health care costs for Maryland families. A homebirth with a CPM is approximately one-third that of a planned vaginal hospital birth. Homebirth mothers have higher breastfeeding rates, which reduces cost for both Medicaid and families.
I may (or may not) be done having my babies, but this piece of legislation is very important to me. I think every Maryland family should have access to a midwife.
If you want to tell your elected officials to support midwives, call or write them today. Go to www.mdelect.com and put in your address to learn who your representatives are.