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 U.S. 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. To reach a similar ratio of other high-income countries with better outcomes than the US, the US should aim for a minimum of 25 midwives per 1000 live births (US Midwife Workforce Far Behind Globally, 2020). With over 3.7 million live births a year in the United States, at least 93,000 midwives are needed to reach that target. Currently, in the US there are almost 14,000 midwives, resulting in a gap of about 80,000 midwives.
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.