WV Lawmakers Advised Not To License Midwives

By: Associate Press
By: Associate Press

Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia has just five midwives who aren't also at least nurses, and state officials say creating a licensing standard for them isn't worth the cost.

These lay midwives have asked the Legislature to create a regulatory board for certified professional midwives. Besides setting practice standards, they say licensing would help them get insurance.

But a legislative audit released Tuesday recommends against the move.

It says that the five known midwives attended just 14 births a year on average between 2002 and 2006.

Several legislators who are also physicians or nurses expressed doubts about the proposal during this week's interim session.

Lay midwives say they'll continue their efforts. They unsuccessfully pushed for state recognition in the early 1990s.

(Copyright 2008 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


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  • by Debby Location: the south on Nov 24, 2008 at 08:14 AM
    WV has 5 midwives who've been willing to come forward. That's not necessarily how many you have. I've considered moving to WV but decided against it because of the archaic midwifery laws. Homebirth midwifery is effective on reducing the neonatal mortality rate and prematurity rate. Doesn't WV want this? If WV had few doctors, would you refuse to be prepared to allow your citizens access to doctors? What a silly rationale! I would encourage you to not only license CPMs, but non-CPMs. These highly skilled, experienced midwives are what you need and should want.
  • by Vicki Taylor Location: Pensacola, FL on Nov 24, 2008 at 06:36 AM
    I began my career in midwifery in WV in the 1970's, eventually became a CPM and have been licensed in Florida for many years. West Virginia would be well served to establish the CPM as the standard for licensing. Regardless of how many professional midwives are currently there, the state needs more midwives to serve the clients who are there. Licensing has pros and cons, but it enables providers to better serve their clients, and provides transparency and most important, informed consent. I strongly encourage the legislature to reconsider. The consumers have the ability to make sure that choices remain available.
  • by Jenny Location: Louisville KY on Nov 23, 2008 at 06:46 PM
    Midwives provide fabulous and safe births for women and the need for them is growing as women avoid hospital births in order to avoid all the interventions up to and including cesareans that they neither want nor need. Midwives have a proven safety record, can serve rural communities well, and should be licensed.
  • by Erin Location: NC on Nov 23, 2008 at 03:58 PM
    Every state needs to decriminalize, if not license, non-nurse midwives. Women deserve to have free access to capable care providers of all kinds for birth.
  • by Amber Location: Detroit on Nov 23, 2008 at 06:24 AM
    There are more out there to License. We had the pleasure (and our right) of having our last daughter at home. Clare was 10# 6oz. It was the best experience out of my 3 births. All women should have a choice of who is there and where they are when they go thru such an intimate experience. Maybe the state should have an an anonyomus questionaire to see just home many there are out there. The 5 that stepped forward are very brave and I hope that homebirth never becomes a problem.
  • by Brooke Location: North Carolina on Nov 23, 2008 at 05:04 AM
    We are fighting this same fight in NC. Women have a right to choose who attends their births. CPMs are not going to come forward & risk legal hassles. They will stay underground & women will have to rely on word of mouth to insure they choose a competent provider. Licensing would provide a standard of care as well as allow for more CPM to come forward. It doesn't matter if 200,000 women want homebirths or 2 want them. These women deserve to have their choice respected & their care providers regulated regardless of numbers. I had a homebirth in NC with an "illegal" CPM. Will I do it again? Absolutely! I will not give up my rights just because the government doesn't this there is enough demand!
  • by Russ Location: North Carolina on Nov 23, 2008 at 03:33 AM
    We in NC have the same problem and are working hard to fix it. Every year hundreds of women and families birth at home with unlicensed midwives. This impedes communication in the event of a transfer of care and without licensing you cannot be sure the standards of care are being maintained. My sense is the rate of planned home birth is going up all over the nation as 1) women become more aware of the options, 2) the alarming C-section rate, 3) lack of access to VBAC support in hospital. The CPM is the national standard for trained home birth midwives. I suggest WV get ready and license CPMs as it is not going away.
  • by Janet Location: Fort Campbell on Nov 22, 2008 at 11:41 PM
    It's a woman's right to choose where and with whom she births here baby. Licensing CPM's will not only give women another birthing choice but save the state money in health care costs. WV families deserve midwives and birth needs to be kept safe. Some women will still continue to birth with CPM's regardless of legalization, lack of legalization just makes it more difficult for the women who are choosing homebirth to find the qualified care provider they need and deserve. My third child was born at home, in a state that has yet to recognize & legalize CPM's. I know, first hand, how difficult it was to find the care I was searching for. Please don't take away that right for the women that want it.
  • by Angy Nixon Location: Scott Depot, WV on Nov 21, 2008 at 09:29 AM
    To ANH about your concerns for educating the community. You are right to point that out! There IS a midwife shortage. We field many calls and email inquiries from women looking for midwives in their areas, but there are none. In the past 30 years, half the hospitals in WV have closed their maternity services. This is not just a midwife shortage - it is a shortage of maternity care providers of all kinds - most noted in the rural areas where population density and birth rates are also low. This is the ideal setting for a community midwife. CNMs and nurse practitioners are also good choices for rural areas. As for educating the public - we are working on this. I hesitate because I think it's unfair to encourage women to seek midwife care when there is no midwife available to them. It would be nice to have more midwives, in small practices around the state, collaborating with physicians in the centers, and taking care of more healthy women who don't all need specialist care.
  • by wvmom on Nov 19, 2008 at 10:35 PM
    women already have the right to choose. Why are people so focused on taking that away from them?
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