Monday, May 5, 2008

International Midwives Day

Today is the day we get to recognize midwives the world over and the incredibly important work that they do. Unfortunately, due to Nebraska's nanny-state law, I cannot recognize my homebirth midwife by name. I can, however, thank her anyway. She is representative of the few caregivers that seem to be left in this country that recognize birth as a normal process and not an event of medicine.

Now, don't get me wrong. I realize that medicine does have it's place in birth. Abby's birth is a prime example of that. Without an MD and surgery, I can't imagine what might have happened. The doctor that did my surgery was absolutely amazing and I am forever grateful for his empathy and care. But, they (doctors and even hospitals) have their place, just as midwifery should have its legal place.


  • The C-section rate has climbed to 31.1% as of 2006, when the World Health Organization holds that there is no excuse for rates over 5-15%.
  • After steadily decreasing for decades (we learned to wash our hands!), the maternal mortality rate for the United States has begun to increase again and hit 13 per 100,000 deaths in 1999, which is among the highest in industrialized nations. In fact, it ranks 41st. As a woman in the U.S., you are about 3.5 times more likely to die in childbirth than in the top 10-ranked nations. The reasons are likely varied, but you must at least consider that the U.S. also has one of the lowest rates of midwifery care for pregnant women.
  • Midwifery care is hands-on, nurturing, and empowering. While the average prenatal visit with a physician lasts only moments, a midwife may spend 30-60 minutes (at least!) with a mother. Midwives rely on the fact that women's bodies were designed to give birth and they encourage the mother in her role. Even their vocabulary ("birthing" versus "delivering", for example) helps to express their underlying belief that they are an attendant and that it is the mother who will be doing the work. And they allow the mother the freedom to experience birth in the way that she needs and desires instead of fitting the mother into a mold.
So, thank a midwife today! And, while you are at it, support the right for all midwives to practice legally in the state of Nebraska, as well as the other states that don't.

P.S. Be watching for the biggest and latest news coming off the farm! It'll be fantastic, I promise!

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