Sunday, December 25, 2011

Midwifery is the M in MCH

I've been sitting on this blog for quite some time. Often thinking of blog posts. Never writing any. This Christmas evening, 2011, Watching a re-broadcast of CNN's 2011 Heroes of the Year inspires me to write today.

The title of the blog refers to a phrase I often heard in graduate school. "There's no M in MCH." (MCH = Maternal and Child Health.) I didn't get it back then. I was young . I was green. I believed that practice and policy were based on evidence. Shortly after graduating, I read Suzanne Arm's Immaculate Deception, and I found the "M". The "M" is "Midwifery."

The 2011 CNN Hero of the Year is Robin Lim, a Certified Professional Midwife. Observant viewers will be able to catch a waterbirth on CNN's profile of Robin Lim, CPM. Fans of Robin, familiar with her work, recognize that the birthing tubs are part and parcel of the honored birthing model. Birthtubs are inexpensive, safe and amazingly effective in managing the pain and discomfort of childbirth.

In contrast, the Charlotte Observer reported on December 23, the arrest of two North Carolina midwives. The midwives were arrested and charged with practicing midwifery without a license following the death of a newborn. This birth also involved a birthing tub.

What gives? Why is one midwife a hero and the other two midwives facing charges? The answer may surprise you. North Carolina, like nearly half of all US states, does not regulate/license home birth midwives based on the Certified Professional Midwife credential. For many years, North Carolina families have been asking the state to regulate home birth midwives based on the CPM credential -- the same credential Robin Lim, CPM, CNN Hero of the Year holds. Who, in North Carolina, is opposed to the regulation of home birth midwives? The answer is not surprising. Big Medicine. In every single state struggling with this issue, organized medicine consistently and effectively blocks licensing laws that would assure competency standards and provide for oversight and regulation by the state.

All women, in all birth settings, deserve access to licensed and regulated maternity care providers


  1. Hey, Michelle! Congratulations on the new blog. I agree that it is the height of irony that CNN could recognize Robin as Hero of the Year, while the state of Georgia, where CNN has it's headquarters , does not license/regulate CPMs.
    Keep up the good work - on your blog and working for CPM regulation in your home state. Happy New Year.

  2. Just stumbled across this new blog. Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts and insights!

  3. looking forward to following your blog!
    -Kelly (birth junkie and chapter leader for ICAN of Northeast Iowa)