Michigan: The next state to have Licensed Certified Professional Midwives

12 Jun 2015

The Friends of Michigan Midwives have bills in both chambers to license Certified Professional Midwives.  Why do our midwives need a license when they have been practicing so far without having to get one?  This measure will ensure that parents who are seeking an out-of-hospital birth know that their midwife meets professional standards.  Currently Michigan law makes no distinction between midwives with no formal education or training, and highly trained and educated midwives who have earned the CPM credential.  Additionally, Licensure protects and promotes the role of CPM in creating a diverse maternal care system in the State of Michigan.  

In the 30 other states that have a license for CPM’s, the numbers of providers have grown.  The increase in CPM’s practicing in any given state means an increase in safety and access to care for mothers and a better response to established consumer preference.

1.  Safety. Research confirms that low-risk out-of-hospital births are just as safe as low-risk hospital birth—and sometimes safer.1 CPMs receive extensive training in early and accurate risk assessment and preventive care, and are known for providing excellent prenatal care that is one of the most important factors leading to healthy mothers and babies.

2. Access. Michigan suffers from a shortage of maternity care services, with many pregnant women living over an hour from the nearest hospital.  States with well-established midwife licensure have increased access and achieved significant health care savings.

3. Consumer preference. For most women, pregnancy is a normal natural, low-risk condition that rarely requires medical intervention or hospital care.  While the education and training received by physicians and nurse-midwives is important to women experiencing high-risk pregnancies, the use of life-saving technology when it is not needed actually creates more risk.  Many mothers and families who select out-of-hospital birth are hoping to avoid unnecessary use of that technology.

For all these reasons, we were thrilled to get a hearing for our HB 4598 on June 10, 2015.  Representative Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) and a large panel of speakers representing Michigan Midwives Association, Friends of Michigan Midwives, Consumers, Birth Educators, Doctors and Nurses appeared before the Regulatory Reform Committee.  The chamber was full of families showing their support.  Our speakers gave testimony and answered many questions from the committee for the full hour and a half allotted to their hearing.  The chair of the committee, Representative Ray Franz (R-Onekema) adjourned the hearing to reconvene on Wednesday June 17th at noon.  

The hearing will be held in room 519 of the Anderson House Office Building, 124 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing, MI 48909-7514.  

Now is the perfect time to let your state representative know that you want Michigan to join 30 other states and be the next state to have Licensed Certified Professional Midwives.  Please call or email a brief message urging a “Yes” vote on House Bill 4598.