Those of you that were working at our downtown campus last Wednesday afternoon may have seen the 100 or so folks carrying placards in front of our 150 Building. They were asking us to make it easier to have a home-birth in AZ. How can we do that, you ask?
Many of you probably didn’t know that we license the 50 or so Midwives that practice in Arizona. Our licensing rules for Midwives were last revised in the mid 1990’s, our rules are out of date, and the application is too complicated. I met with 4 of the community folks upstairs during the demonstration- and we had a productive discussion. Basically- they asked us to consider revising our Midwife licensing rules to simplify the application process and consider revising their scope of practice. We talked during our meeting about the rulemaking process (both exempt and regular), gave them a realistic forecast of how quickly we could revise the rules using each approach, and set up a dialog so we could come up with a solution together.
Coincidently- there was a study published in the British Medical Journal this week regarding the safety etc. of home births. The study basically suggests that there’s little difference in complications among the babies of women with low-risk pregnancies who delivered in hospitals vs. those who gave birth at home with a midwife. Of course- the article is more complicated than that- so visit the journal article for more info…
You should get on that. There is some time constraint for women who are having babies. Every day you wait you may be too late for someone. For people who want to do homebirth it is very very important. Pregnancy is not an illness. There is no reason for a healthy woman or her new baby should be forced to go to the place where all the sickest people are. Midwives are dedicated professionals. They deserve to do there jobs with security and fairness from the government. Please help.
Thank you! I was a licensed midwife from 1990 to 2000 (license #99). I had both of my children at home. One was born in Arizona and one was born in Illinois. Being in Arizona was a hugely better experience than being in Illinois. I knew the extent of my midwife’s training in Arizona. She had positive connections with the medical community, so that back up in case of an emergency was clear. Our midwife was able to bill our insurance for her services. I was able to get labwork on my midwife’s authority. Believe it or not, legal midwifery is what brought me to Arizona. I have since received three college degrees here. My two children have received two college degrees here. There is a place for midwifery to bloom, and that place is Arizona!
Yes, please! For women like me who have experienced severe birth trauma in a hospital, the idea of entering another hospital is so terrifying I can’t begin to describe it.
Please, please, please legalize LM’s to do VBAC’s at home. The risk for rupture is the same as a first time mom. My only other option would be an unassisted birth. I can’t see how that makes a lick of sense. “Sure, you can have your baby at home with no help or in a place that causes extreme stress and requires you to undergo procedures that are proven unnecessary, but you can’t birth your baby at home with someone trained to spot trouble and transport.” It’s too late for your rule changes to help me now, but if they can save some future woman from that forbidding choice, I support it with all my might.
So happy that it is recognized that rules and regulations need to be opened for update. We strive everyday to provide the best care possible for human beings. Midwives take their “jobs” (I put this in quotations because for them it is not a job…it is more like an act of love) very seriously and they are very well trained. It would be so nice for women to have a choice of where and with who they birth.
Yes, please update! As a resident of AZ, a mother who had a VBAC at home, I would love to see things become simpler and to review the regulations. I’d love to see AZ as a state that is leading the way for midwives, mothers, babies and birthing options!
I am also looking for a vbac. Please revise the statutes so that I can labor a home and be able to deliver my baby in a non medical environment. My previous birth was very traumatic for me, my daughter and my family. I would like to have my next birth with a midwife who cares about me and my family. The doctor at the hospital only were interested in how quickly he could go home. He did not care if I saw my baby after I was born. He put me back under to sew me up. I don’t even remember the first time I saw my daughter. Please help me have a better experience with my next child.
Arizona will only grow and benefit from better options for birthing safely. I had complications with both of my births. One was in a hospital. They rushed me (I naturally progress slowly) and so I was given the Pitocin which made my contractions so uncomfortable that I had to have the epidural or they were going to force me to have a cesarean. My second was a homebirth with a CPM, licensed midwife and a student midwife. My progression was allowed to happen naturally which kept me comfortable all the way until transition even though that took 12 hours. This birth experience was much better and more fulfilling as I was allowed to take my time and I felt safe and more involved because I was at home.
The complication I had was a hemorrhage while delivering the placenta. My midwife who, just like an OB, is trained for such things, took all the steps necessary to slow the bleeding until the ambulance she called for arrived to take me on to the hospital. Thanks to her quick actions I did not have to have a blood transfusion. The hemorrhage would have happened even if I’d had a hospital birth and I know that I would not have any positive memories about my second birth if I hadn’t chosen homebirth.
I do not regret my decision and I’d make it again. You need to be doing all that you can to help midwives get licensed more easily in our state and allow them to expand their scope to include VBACs at home. We as women should have the right to choose where we want to birth regardless of our past birth histories.
Thank you for recognizing the need for change and for working with the midwife community!
I’m British and had my last baby at home there, (we now live in AZ).
I have to say the States approach to pregnancy/birth in general is to treat it as an illness rather than a natural process. To be frank the statistics relating to hospital births here are horrifying.
Women should have the choice to birth at home if they prefer and without licensed midwives their choices are severely diminished.
It’s about time things started to change for the better here.
We should take a leaf out The Netherlands birthing system where the majority of the births take place in the home and the C-section rate is minute compared to the US. Pregnant women need to be able to choose what’s right for them, having more licensed midwives can only contribute to better birthing outcomes where women can truly enjoy the transformational experience of giving birth in surroundings that support their choices. HOME BIRTH IS NOT DANGEROUS!!!!
Thank you for listening to us. I’m a home birth advocate and am 6 weeks pregnant with my first child. I am very excited to see what changes will be made.
Thank you! Having experienced both hospital and home birth personally, I found the care, attention, and support of home birth midwives to be a far superior option for me. I look forward to the day when this will be an option for more women in Arizona.
Thank you for realizing that things do need to be changed whith midwives licensing in AZ. I am one who doesn’t currently have the option of using a midwife for a homebirth because I have had a previous cesarean. I’ve had a successful vbac in a hospital, but I would like to have my next baby at home, with a midwife. Please help us make these changes, so women can have more options when it comes to their birth:)
I think that its time for the state to keep listening to the growing number of women who would like the chance to birth their babies at home. Many of these women want to have home vbacs, and it will be much safer for them to have a trained midwife in attendance as opposed to having an unassisted birth. One reason I moved to Arizona was because I knew they had a large midwifery community, and I wanted to find a legal homebirth midwife to care for me during my pregnancies. There are many wonderful midwives making a difference here, but they could help so many more women if their hands were not tied by outdated rules and regulations. Expanding their scope of practice will allow more women to have the kind of births that they choose, and it will also reduce the number of unassisted births by offering licensed
midwives to those who want one. Having twins or a vbac does not automatically make a woman high risk. If she is healthy and otherwise meets the criteria for homebirth, then it should be her choice where she delivers her baby. Please listen to the voices of these women who took the time to come out and make it known how much they value safe, legal midwifery services. Thank you very much for giving this matter the attention it deserves!
Thank you for taking the time to make much needed changes to midwifery policy! Having this service more available is so important to many women in our community and home births are safe and women should be able to choose whether they want to give birth at home.
I am so happy to have deliver 2 out of 4 babies at home. Our Midwives where more than amazing. Our births where out of this world. My whole family (my older children 11 and 10 yrs old oh and my 3 yrs old was there for baby #4) they loved it. The oldest even got to cut the cord for #3!
I wish more woman where able to trust that this is the best it could happen to them.
I know it was for us!
Thanks to ALL the Midwives that give their lifes for the mothers and their childs.
You are all simply amazing!!!!
I am thankful that this issue is being highlighted. Birth is a personal and sacred time for mother and child. It is imperitive that the mother is able to choose where and how she is to birth her baby. Allowing for VBAC mothers to have the choice to birth at home is absolutly necessary. I am a mother of four and I have had births both in the hospital and at home. I have had three sucessful vbacs with no complications. I should have the option to have a homebirth should I desire it for future pregnancys.
I look forward to sharing a less oppressive world with my child. Watching the “revisions of Midwife licensing rules” take place and “the scope of az midwifery practice broadened” would be two good steps toward actualizing my goals of parenting! The first step to a healthy life is how you enter the world! Every parent should have the right to a safe home-birth! Lets make these necessary and overdue changes to AZ midwifery laws happen soon.
This is fantastic. I hope that along with this revision that you, Will Humble, will get involved and STOP the current attempt to take away (name removed by editor) midwifery license. The revisions may help women in Arizona in the future, but not in the Verde Valley if there is no midwife to practice them. Please don’t pretend that this witch hunt isn’t happening under YOUR WATCH.
So grateful AZ is being open and receiving of the midwife community, my hope is this dialogue gains momentum and continues until revised regulations are complete. These will serve to protect and enhance more women’s births, making it even safer for everyone! My experience with midwives in Arizona has been indescribably better than any care I have EVER received from a hospital or MD and anything that will allow them to do their job better and extend their services to more women and babies I will forever be in favor of.
So happy that the state is willing to be progressive and move forward for the health and safety of pregant women and their babies.
I believe one thing the medical community and maybe the general public does not know about AZ birthing.
Many, many people chose to have unattended births because they can not legally have a midwife do the birth they are desiring at home.
It makes more sense to allow midwifery care and have trained attendents than to have people get no prenatal care, no lab testing and stay home and hope for the best on their own. I do believe that 95 % of the time, they will be fine, it is the 5% who could be helped by a trained professional that I worry about.
My wife and I had our two children at home. While birth of a child is usually a pivotal moment, I carry an extra connection to my kids and my wife for having participated so actively in the event. It was truly transformational. I have been a vocal advocate of home birth since our first was born. I urge you to simplify the process. As I told my obstetrician friend “It’s great that we have sophisticated medicine when we need it, but if the pregnancy is uncomplicated, keeping it simple is better for the whole family.”
Like all things in life when things change (economy, social status, education, information, etc) we have to adjust. I think adjusting and updating the rules for AZ midwives is a natural part of changing life. It’s crucial to update rules and regulations for AZ midwives and of course many other facets of our system.
I myself am beyond grateful to have the option and opportunity to work with a team of wonderful midwives and student apprentices to birth my baby.
In great support of updating the rules and having more women be supported by midwives in or out of hospitals.
Having homebirth more accessible would be a wonderful thing; ideally, that would make insurance more likely to cover it. If there is an option that is just as safe, provides better experiences for families, and is less expensive, why WOULDN’T that be a good thing? I, too, think that there are increasingly more families choosing unassisted birth/care because in their situation (cost, VBAC, expereince with previous birth with an OB, etc) there is no better option. If homebirth regulations were re-evaluated and changed into a way that allows them to be more accessible, I believe that would allow the people of Arizona have more options for birthing and in turn, have the best care possible. Hospitals and doctors are wonderful for high risk pregnancies, just as homes are wonderful for low risk pregnancies.
Thank you very much for your post and thoughts on the matter! I will be following the discussion to see what happens!
Thank you for taking the time to looking into the revision. We need to make it easier for women to have the option to birth at home. Please help make it eaiser for midwives help moms and babies!
Thank you Will for publishing this info on your blog! Your recognition and support on this topic means so much!
I was personally at the rally on November 23 with my 4 children, including my newborn. I used midwives for all of my births, three of which were homebirths. I really hope that you continue to support and push the rights of midwives to provide care to mothers within their scope of practice. All women deserve the right to CHOOSE how they will give birth and I am so glad that you are in supporting this work.
As a Licensed Midwife for the last 10 years, I am in full support of us opening the rules and regulations. We must reduce the burden of time and money on the department of health and bring up to date our scope of practice!
It is time! A woman’s birth choices ARE a God-given right. In a free society personal choice must be preserved. Recognizably, true freedom is very much connected with our need to be a virtuous people and to not be out with the intent to harm or take away from others. As a state we have made abortion, the right to intentionally terminate fetus life, legal– and yet we limit the choices and support woman can receive for giving birth. The environment and care that a woman feels safe and comfortable with during birth IS her right to decide.
I support the opening of rules and regulations for midwifery/birth as a means of recognizing freedom in regard to the individual woman and her sacred birth.
As a consumer of midwifery care at home and a Homebirth Advocate, I can not adequately express how important this topic is to a growing number of families. Opening up the rules and regulations will not only benefit those families, but will decrease the regulatory burden of time and money on the department. Women have the right to choose where they want to give birth. Now, we need to make changes to the rules and regulations so that midwives are governed by rules that are evidence based and up to date!
Thank you so much for taking the time to address this issue. all birthing mothers should have access to the birth attendant they feel best meets their needs.
Thank you for listening to all of us who love homebirth and would like to do it in the safest way possible. It is good to know that you have open communication with these midwives!!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thankful so much for helping, not just women, but the whole families of our state to having the birth that they deserve. This
Is an amazing next step and really pray ALL the rules get updated. Twin births and VBACs are safe under the right care at home. Way to go for being open minded!!!
Even though none of my four children have been born at home, I strongly support homebirth. It can be very difficult to get reimbursed from insurance and cross other hurdles for having a homebirth, so making this safe option easier is very important. Witnessing my mother give birth to three of my younger siblings at home was a wonderful experience for me that more people should be able to have.
Three of my four children were born at home in AZ. I had a wonderful Midwifery team, very well trained and trusted. All the births were Fantastically Healthy and Safe. My husband and I would not have changed a thing. Please change only what needs to change. Let’s continue to give women and their families the wonderful choice of being able to Safely continue Birth at Home.
I used a midwife for the birth of my son 3 years ago and will be using one in a few weeks for the birth of my second child. Please continue to support the rights of midwives and expanding the rules and regulations so that low risk pregnant women can continue to give birth in a safe and loving manner at home.
Thank you for hearing the voices of Arizona families. I am excited that the rules and regulations will finally be updated. This is good for women, good for midwives, good for babies, good for the community, and good for the country. Thank you for your support in getting this process started. I, personally, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE birthing my babies at home and receiving intimate prenatal care with midwives. Cheers!
Will – thank you for listening to us and helping to move the discussion forward. We just had our first homebirth in October and I am thankful that a revision of the scope of practice will make homebirth an option for more families.
I am a native Arizonan, and had a severe rupture during a VBAC attempt in 2010. I hope that Mr Humble keeps the ban on home birth midwives for VBACs in place.
Had I attempted to have my VBAC at home, as my family wished, neither me nor my daughter would be here. I lost 2 liters of blood and was on the operating table for 2 hours getting sewn up. It is only because I was under the care of qualified, professionally trained medical personnel in a hospital setting that me and my daughter are here today.
Looking at the supposed risk of a rupture is looking at the wrong statistic. The important thing is not what your chances of a rupture are….but what your outcome is likely to be should one occur. Other women in other states who have attempted a HB VBAC and have suffered ruptures have lost babies, delivered babies who are disabled because of the birth, and/or have lost their own lives.
The sad fact is NO LM is qualified to deal with that situation by manner of her training in a hospital, much less at home. Their training falls far short of that required in any other Western, industrialized nation, and they would never be allowed to practice anywhere on the Continent.
Mr Humble, your charge is to protect the citizens of Arizona from unqualified practitioners. I am not going to debate whether or not LM’s should practice….but they definitely do not have the knowledge or skills to save a mother and baby in the middle of a uterine rupture should one occur. Please protect Arizonans, current and future, by NOT expanding their allowed area of practice to include HB VBACs.
I had my first child at home. With the second I went to hospital as doctors suspected minor complications. I am totally in favor of giving birth in the comfort of your own home, provided of course midwife and doctor agree that there won’t be any complications. Please continue to support and strengthen the roles of midwives!
Thank you so much for taking the time to address this issue. all birthing mothers should have access to the birth attendant they feel best meets their needs. Way to go.