Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mississippi Midwives - Help Needed!

Reprinted from my blog-friend Kathy, regarding upcoming legislation (already passed by Missouri Representatives) that would ban CPM midwives from practicing in the state of Mississippi:


"I was shocked to find out today that HB 695 which would amend current Mississippi state law to restrict the practice of midwifery to only Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) has passed the House and is in the Senate. This is a historic and unwelcome revision of long-standing Mississippi law which has always allowed for the free practice of midwifery.

"There are only about 25 CNMs in the state (as of 2008), and most serve the lower third of the state. This leaves the rest of us without the benefit of a legal home-birth attendant. Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas allow for CPMs (Certified Professional Midwives), and some may even allow for non-certified or "lay" midwives to legally practice (as current Mississippi law does). When I was pregnant with my son, now three years old, I was unable to find a local Mississippi midwife close enough to attend my birth, so chose a CPM from Tennessee. If this bill becomes a law, I fear that that option will no longer be available. What then? My choices will be limited to an unassisted birth or giving birth in a hospital.

"A midwife is a safeguard of normal birth -- monitoring the mother throughout pregnancy, just like a doctor (only better), and monitoring the mother and baby throughout labor. In most hospitals, this one-on-one labor care is nonexistent, replaced by machines monitoring the mother and baby, with nurses checking in only rarely. Sure, it's more cost-effective since there can be a higher patient-to-nurse ratio, but it's not better! With the close "with woman" care that homebirth midwives can give mothers, they can pick up on indications that labor may not be progressing normally, and take steps to put it back on track at home, or make an appropriate and timely transfer to the hospital.

"Without homebirth midwives, women such as myself will be forced to give birth at home without a midwife in attendance, or to give birth in substandard conditions in a hospital. There are no baby-friendly hospitals in Mississippi. Our fair state consistently ranks at the bottom of most health criteria, including breastfeeding (see also this link). Home-birth is very "baby friendly" -- what we need is more encouragement for women to have home birth, not less! This is just one of many benefits to babies of home birth. Among the many benefits to mothers are a much lower rate of interventions, including C-sections, epidurals, inductions, augmentations, episiotomies and vacuum- or forceps-assisted births.

"Home birth is not for everyone. Many women would not choose it if they could; and some who want to give birth at home have risk factors that cause them not to be good candidates for a home birth, so give birth at a hospital. Yet most women are low-risk, and about 90% of women who plan on giving birth at home do so (and only a very small minority of the 10% who transfer to hospitals do so in an emergency; most are calm, routine transfers for pain medication or labor augmentation).

"CNMs are wonderful -- I had one during my first pregnancy (I lived in Illinois then). CPMs are likewise wonderful -- I had one during my second pregnancy. As far as practice style went, there was no difference. The main difference between CNMs and CPMs is that CNMs are Registered Nurses who go on to complete midwifery training -- training which is very similar if not identical to the midwifery training that CPMs complete.

"With midwives already in short supply, changing the law to an even more restrictive one will be counterproductive. If you care about home birth, midwifery, the right of mothers to choose where and with whom to give birth, or just plain don't like government interference, please contact State Senators and urge them to vote against this legislation! And for good measure, contact Representatives and express your disappointment that this bill passed.

"Thank you."


You can see her blog entry (the above is Facebook) here.


Here is the letter from the Big Push for Midwives (I'm too tired to link up the links, so you'll have to cut and paste:

Dear All,

Here is an emergency message from the Big Push Campaign about an
anti-midwife bill in Mississippi. Please contact everyone you know in
Mississippi and pass this on to them. Not just midwives --
relatives, friends, childbirth educators, doulas, former clients,
email friends, groups you belong to who may have members in
Mississippi -- everyone in Mississippi or who may have contacts

PLEASE urge them to take action NOW!!

If any of you know any midwives in MS, please pass their contact
information on to Katie Prown, Campaign Manager for The Big Push for
Midwives, at kprown@prodigy.net

Katie's message provides links and buttons, so you don't have to look
these names and numbers up. PHONE CALLS are what count to
legislators, not email, not snail mail. CALL THEM to register your
opposition to this terrible, dangerous bill:

Mississippi House Bill 695, which would OUTLAW Certified Professional
Midwives and deny women access to their care, needs to be stopped

If you live in or have midwifery or doula clients in Mississippi,
start making calls and sending emails to your STATE SENATORS ONLY and
forward this to anyone you know who lives in the state (calls can be
made to home and office numbers both).

Mississippi residents can find out who their State Senator is here:


It is particularly important that members of the Senate Public Health
committee (listed below) hear from their constituents, telling them to
vote NO on HB 695 and that you do NOT support making Certified
Professional Midwives, who are specially trained to deliver babies in
out-of-hospital settings illegal.

The bill, which includes stiff penalties for ANY midwife practicing
who is not a nurse-midwife and which repeals the current exemption
that midwives have from Mississippi’s medical practice act, has
already sailed through the Mississippi House, so urgent action is
needed TODAY.



Take a moment to send an email or make a call... This is a super-important issue that will involve an entire state (not to mention national ramifications). Here is some contact information:

Hob Bryan,
Chair (It is especially urgent that Senator Bryan hear from his
constituents—please spread the word to anyone you know who lives in
District 7 to start making calls)
District 7 - Itawamba, Lee, Monroe

Contact Information:
Room: 212 D
P. O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215
P. O. Box 75
Amory, MS 38821
(662)256-9989 (H)
(662)256-9601 (W)

Bob M. Dearing
District 37 - Adams, Amite, Franklin, Pike

Contact Information:
Room: 215 B
P. O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215
305 Melrose-Motebello Parkway
Natchez, MS 39120
(601)442-0486 (H)
(601)446-7651 (W)
(601)446-7651 (F)

Hillman Terome Frazier
District 27 - Hinds

Contact Information:
Room: 213 E
P. O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215

2066 Queensroad Avenue
Jackson, MS 39213
(601)982-1871 (H)
(601)359-5957 (F)

John Horhn
District 26 - Hinds, Madison

Contact Information:
Room: 212 B
P. O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215

P.O. Box 2030
Jackson, MS 39225
(601)362-1045 (H)
(601)362-4285 (W)


Cindy Hyde-Smith
District 39 - Lawrence, Lincoln, Simpson

Contact Information:
Room: 405 B
P. O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215

400 Cattle Trail, N. W.
Brookhaven, MS 39601
(601)835-3322 (H)


Kenneth Wayne Jones
District 21 - Attala, Holmes, Madison, Yazoo

Contact Information:
P. O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215

232 Boyd Street
Canton, MS 39046
(601)859-3438 (H)
(601)859-8844 (W)


Willie Simmons
District 13 - Bolivar, Humphreys, Sunflower

Contact Information:
Room: 213 A
P. O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215

P. O. Box 297
Cleveland, MS 39732
(662)846-7433 (W)

Bennie L. Turner
District 16 - Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha

Contact Information:
Room: 404 C
P. O. Box 1018
Jackson, MS 39215

P. O. Drawer 1500
West Point, MS 39773
(662)494-5061 (H)
(662)494-6611 (W)


1 comment:

  1. Called, emailed and definitely got involved!! I hate when they try to standardize everything and only certain certifications get through. It is sooo not right.

    BTW: Gave you a blog award :)


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