ACNM is conducting a Midwifery Workforce Study that will identify policy changes needed to expand the midwifery workforce to optimum capacity. The full results will be available by the end of 2023.
Midwifery in the United States is underutilized and underfunded (Sakala et al., 2020). Increasing access and integration of midwives throughout the US can improve equity and outcomes (Vedam et al., 2018). Currently, the US has approximately 4 midwives employed per 1,000 live births. With over 3.7 million live births a year, at least 22,000 midwives are needed in the midwifery workforce to meet the World Health Organization goal of at minimum 6 midwives per 1,000 live births. Currently, there are about 14,000 midwives in the US including those not in clinical practice, resulting in a gap of at least 8200 midwives. Even at 6/1000 births, the US will have a smaller midwifery workforce than other high-income countries with better outcomes.
The Midwifery Workforce Study researchers are analyzing data collected by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) and the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME), to provide the most accurate evaluation of the current midwifery workforce size, capacity, and growth trajectory. Surveys and focus groups will collect information on entry to and exit from midwifery practice. These data will be combined with publicly available data to build a model for an adequate midwifery workforce based on maternal-child health outcomes. Analysis of the data by states will identify which state policies facilitate an adequate midwifery workforce that can work to full capacity. Finally, this project will synthesize this information into products, issue briefs, state information sheets, and state scorecards, that can be used to advocate for policies that facilitate an adequate midwifery workforce. This study is funded with a grant from the Johnson & Johnson Foundation.