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The Window is Open for Transforming Maternity Care

By Ginger Breedlove, CNM, PhD, FACNM, ACNM President

Last week, Diana Mason, PhD, RN wrote a blog post for the Journal of the American Medical Association titled “Transforming the Costly Travesty of US Maternity Care.”

It is an articulate chronology of the issue, which has reappeared frequently in national headlines over the past month. Mason advocates for immediate change, outlining 4 compelling factors that stand in the way of improving maternal-newborn outcomes while reducing costs: Service Design, Payment, Workforce Development, and Investment challenges. Each is eloquently described in common language which calls for immediate reform during the Affordable Care Act implementation at the state level.

Later the same day, Reuters posted an article noting that hospitals are doing more to enable and encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies, including promotion of skin-skin contact and its benefits to both mother and child. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about three-quarters of babies in the US start out breastfeeding, but only 15% are still exclusively breastfed at 6 months. We have a very long way to go before we achieve optimum continued breastfeeding rates.

For me, reading these two publications a few hours apart sent a strong message that the window for change is now! I urge ACNM members and friends of midwives alike to support changing maternity care in the US by participating in Midwifery Advocacy Month. Congress is out of session during the month of August, and there’s no better time to make a personal connection with your representatives. Seek them out while they are back in your community. Demand full access to and reimbursement for evidence-based models of safe, affordable, and satisfying midwifery care in all settings including the home, birth centers, and hospitals that promote normal, physiologic birth. Read up on the Quality Care for Moms and Babies and MOMS 21 Acts, two major pieces of legislation that ACNM is targeting in our advocacy efforts, and act now to support them. Please share your voice with your Members of Congress and encourage them to support these bills.

Midwives, if you have not contacted your state or federal representatives, or need a new, energizing platform to educate decision-makers in your place of work, now is the time. Please invite your Members of Congress to tour your practice (or arrange a meeting at their local offices), and prepare to discuss the value of midwifery care. If you can’t meet with your Senators or Representatives personally, meet with their staffers. Print these recent articles as supplemental materials and go for it! Mention that Kate Middleton had her first child surrounded by 4 caring midwives through an 11-hour labor without the use of analgesic medications – an example of the skill and caring of midwife-supported labor and birth. Get the media involved. Hold an event or fundraiser. At the very least, please make a phone call, send an e-mail, or write a letter.

For more information about and ways to get involved with Midwifery Advocacy Month, visit Transformation in maternity care will not occur if we wait for someone else to do the work. Reach out this month and help change maternity care for the better!

Posted By Barbra Elenbaas | 8/7/2013 4:53:17 PM



Any opinions expressed in this blog are those of the individual participant(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. ACNM is not responsible for accuracy of any of the information provided by guest bloggers and/or members via the Comments section. We welcome all feedback – including comments, ideas and suggestions. We also welcome civil, friendly debates. However, any and all content that is deemed inflammatory or rude will not be posted.


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