Monday, September 28, 2009

Considering a home birth? Midwives' qualifications vary

Found on the USA Today website

Although two new studies from Canada and the Netherlands found that home births were as safe as hospital births among low-risk women, Erin Tracy of Massachusetts General Hospital argues that the findings can't be extrapolated to the USA.

In Canada and the Netherlands, midwives who attend home births must have at least a bachelor's degree, which is not the case for all U.S. midwives, says Tracy, a spokeswoman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which opposes home births.

In the USA, certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives, both of whom are represented by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, will need master's degrees in midwifery to take the test for accreditation beginning in 2011. According to executive director Lorrie Kaplan, her college has accredited 11,500 certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives.

But a third group, certified professional midwives — who only attend home births — has no minimum formal education requirements.

According to the North American Registry of Midwives, which accredits certified professional midwives, they have varied educational backgrounds, ranging from self-study to college- and university-based midwifery programs. Certified professional midwives are allowed to practice in all but 10 states and the District of Columbia, according to the registry.

ACOG shouldn't confuse the site of a birth with the qualifications of the midwife attending it, Kaplan says. "The research is really quite compelling that home birth under the right circumstances is really very safe," she says. "People are going to keep doing it, no matter what ACOG says."

No comments:

Post a Comment