Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"The Whistle Blower Midwife" & More

I recently came across an excellent post called "The Whistle Blower Midwife" over on the blog The Reformed CPM. The author is Mindy Wolfe, a midwife practicing in Indiana. Her blog is fairly new with only a few posts up so far, but it promises to be a great resource for all of us moving forward. Her writing is honest, insightful and extremely poignant as it relates to the training/practice of "certified" midwifery.  Her perspective as a midwife about these issues resonates strongly with my own experience as a client.  

Here is Mindy's introduction: "I chose to become a midwife with the intent of helping women and their families.  I did a majority of my clinical experience at a free maternity clinic in the Philippines and then came back to the States to pass the NARM exam and become licensed in New Mexico.  Shortly after graduation, I moved back to Indiana, where lay midwifery is considered practicing medicine without a license and a felony, so I actually never set up my own practice.  I did, however, have the opportunity to meet other lay midwives in my area.  I was appalled again and again by the lack of education and professional accountability I encountered.  I even had the brief opportunity to work as a birth assistant to a CNM who provides home birth services locally, but learned through that experience that legal care does not always mean safe care.

I have been compelled by my conscience lately that it would be wrong and a violation of my oath to "do no harm" to not speak up.  Women are, in good faith, choosing these practitioners without realizing the risks inherent to this choice.  I firmly believe that almost every single parent chooses the type of care that they do for the birth of their child motivated by a desire to offer the safest and best start in life.  Some practitioners unfairly, and in some cases perhaps unknowingly, twist this natural desire to fit their desire to advance a certain agenda.  This is unacceptable and can result in catastrophic consequences.  

Oversight and regulations need to change, but even more than that, the dangerous mantra of "trust birth" needs to get out of the driver's seat of anyone's health care to make room for care that truly respects women and their children.  Then we'll see real change."

Mindy is not alone in her thinking. There appears to be a new movement among doulas and midwives who trained as CPMs and are now speaking out about how dangerous the philosophy, preparation (or lack thereof), and home birth practices of some midwives really is.

Another example of this trend is a blog post called "Because I Love Her, The Need for Change in Home birth Care."  The author is a practicing doula calling for accountability for negligent midwives and speaking out on behalf of women and babies who have endured preventable loss.  This post makes me feel good - like slowly, some NCB (Natural Child Birth) advocates are hearing our voices.  The first step is recognition, then we can move forward together toward real improvement in maternity care.

Here are three other "reformed midwife" bloggers that are worth a read. They, like us, are advocating for improved practices, higher standards of education, and measures of accountability:

What are you reading these days? Is there a great blog, journal, or article about midwifery issues that you think we would enjoy? Let us know in the comments section!

Note: (Certified Professional Midwives are often referred to as CPMs.  CPMs were originally known as "lay midwives", then renamed "Direct Entry Midwives", and even later renamed "Certified Midwives".  Their credentialing body was founded by Ina May Gaskin in establishing first Midwives Alliance of North America: MANA, and later a branch entitled North American Registry of Midwives: NARM.  Both organizations are run privately, politically motivated, and irresponsible in reporting outcomes & holding their members accountable.)

1 comment:

  1. "I even had the brief opportunity to work as a birth assistant to a CNM who provides home birth services locally, but learned through that experience that legal care does not always mean safe care." Indiana has since changed their midwife law but this statement by Mindy Wolfe is still valid because it mentions CNMs. CNMs are not trained in out of hospital births but are trained within hospitals in Michigan. If a CNM decides to supervise and offering training for assistants and apprentices toward the CPM credential, is this in violation of nursing code of conduct when the births take place in homes rather than in hospitals...which is always the location that Michigan CNMs receive their labor, birth, and postpartum training? Essentially then, CNMs are training CPMs (who then file the PEP process forms) but were never trained as CPMs themselves. Though in some cases this may be fine, maybe in other situations it leads irresponsibility. Just a question I have been thinking on concerning the CNM and CPM process of educating others.
    To verify if a licensee has ever had disciplinary action [including complaints] taken against their license, go to LARA verify a license website. This site offers information on LPNs, RNs, and CNMs...but nothing yet for CPMs. Also included are MDs, PTs, DCs, Dentists, and other health care occupations.