For those playing along at home, as soon as The Big Push for Midwives announced the "Largest US Study to Date Finds Home Birth to Be a Safe Option for Most Women" based on newly released research (here and here), Big Medicine played a card from its dark deck.
Goliath reached up its sleeve to flip the Ace of Scaremongering at millions of mothers, families, and babies across the US, in its desperate attempt to try to shut/shout down the truth, citing numbers that are neither published nor peer reviewed, and based on birth certificate data.
The good news is that the truth about the safety of out-of-hospital birth as published in the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health is still available even if Goliath is teetering from the stone that hit his exposed forehead.
While it is beyond pathetic to see the turf war that Big Medicine continues is waging, it is sadly not surprising. Goliath doesn't seem to care that:
- Rural, uninsured, and underinsured women need more maternity care options.
- States need to remove barriers that deny mothers, families, and babies access to high-quality, safe, and cost-effective midwifery care.
- The US needs to get it in gear to significantly reduce rates of prematurity and low-birth weigh that are critical to reducing racial and economic disparities in birth outcomes, and reducing unnecessary costs to our health care system.
- The US has one of the highest rates of both infant and maternal death among industrialized countries, and frankly, the US maternity care system is broken. Maternal and fetal mortality rates are worse than 40 other countries worldwide, and we spend more money than anyone else on maternity care. Where is almost all that care being delivered? The answer Goliath doesn't want you to see through his 30%-c-section-tinted glasses is HOSPITALS.
Big Medicine is NOT doing so great at birth in America, and Big Medicine's problem with out-of-hospital birth is not that it isn't safe. Rather, it's that it is a safe option for most women and thus presents a threat to the Big Medicine status quo and the trade associations and state medical societies who control it. Goliath is deeply dependent on maintaining the status quo … so dependent that Big Medicine will sometimes tell bald-faced lies about out-of-hospital birth research on national television and in other media outlets and hope that no one notices. Here are some other sensible voices on the matter:
- Here's an impressive statement from the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM)
- Here's a piece where Missy Cheyney refutes these new scaremongering numbers.
- Here's an item that points out more on the flaws in birth certificate data.
- Here's the response of the Reddit community to a recent diatribe from Big Medicine's biggest shill.
- Here's a commentary by sociologist Barbara Katz Rothman on "Home Birth In a Risk Society."
- Here's a Facebook post by Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN of EvidenceBasedBirth.com.
- Here's a Throwback Thursday treat by Wendy Gordon, CPM, LM, MPH, MANA Division of Research, Assistant Professor, Bastyr University Dept of Midwifery in Science & Sensibility.
- Here's another Throwback Thursday treat by Miriam Pérez of radicaldoula.com published in RH Reality Check.
Here at The Big Push for Midwives, we are ALL IN to knocking Goliath down. The powerful and strong are not always what they seem. David had only a stone and a slingshot to bring down the greatest warrior of his time. The Big Push has only the truth, courage, faith, and the amazing grassroots uprising of the PushStates who fight the good fight every day from where they are with what they have. To see more on these dueling studies, visit the PushHeadlines page today.
The Big Push for Midwives collaborated with the California Families for Access to Midwives (CFAM) to get out this latest news release in California. CFAM is a social justice organization dedicated to removing barriers that deny California citizens access to licensed midwife care.
It looks like the "Free Our Midwives!" rally on July 1 at the Capitol in Sacramento, CA, was a great success, with 375 parents, babies, and midwife supporters converging on the Capitol in support of efforts to remove from California law a repressive and outdated provision that is threatening the future of legal midwifery in California, and perpetuating racial and economic disparities in birth outcomes.
Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla told the crowd at the rally that "You have made an impact here today." In addition, Assemblywoman Bonilla did two important things to help remove physician supervision:
- She removed language from the bill (AB1308) that restated and outlined a plan for implementing California’s famously ill-conceived and unobtainable requirement of physician supervision of licensed midwives.
- She also verbally committed to amending the existing law to take physician supervision completely off the books. PLEASE THANK HER (using old fashioned pen and paper! No calls for now!) for her support.
Congratulations from the Big Push for Midwives Campaign to the Friends of Missouri Midwives (FOMM) and the Missouri Midwives Association (MMA) on the fifth anniversary of the Missouri Supreme Court decision!
The Big Push for Midwives steering committee particularly LOVES this latest FOMM news release as our own Susan Jenkins was one of the attorneys who wrote the birth activists' amicus brief back then and consulted with MMA leadership on the text of the bill.
Please enjoy the news release here, which is well-written, upbeat, and positive. Again, congratulations to Missouri!!
- Missourinet | July 9, 2013
Fire up the PushMediaMachine, we are back in business! We live to Push again! Many thanks and lots of hugs and kisses to all of you incredibly wonderful Pushers and other folks who chipped in on this latest fundraising effort.
Because you reached down and gave what you could, the Big Push for Midwives campaign's "50+ Shades of Green for CPMs" fundraiser was a pretty solid success.
Although we did not quite reach our goal of $5,000 (and anyone who wants to tip us over the top is still happily encouraged to do so), we got SOOOO close that our media relaunch is a definite GO.
We are thrilled to report that we will now be able to sign up again with our media software vendor, pay our loyal social-media-maven intern his back wages, and be back to our old PushNewsRelease and PushAlert tricks again real soon.
If you have any favorite reporters, bloggers, media outlets who you want to make sure are on our lists, please pass their contact info on to PushGirl@pushformidwives.org.
The Big Push for Midwives campaign belongs to you.
- It isn't the website alone (although we do have a lovely website).
- It isn't the Facebook page alone (though we're delighted to have so many fans!)
- And it certainly isn't just the steering committee.
We are here to help you in the PushStates out and to keep the Big Push for Midwives campaign going, but we are not a top-down organization, rather, we are the essence of grassroots. The Big Push campaign has always been the work of a coalition of the PushState groups, and our focus has always been to create a mutual-help project for all the consumers and midwives pushing in the statehouses and sharing ideas, strategies, successes, and setbacks to create efficiencies and interconnectivity.
For this coalition to be be sustainable, we realize that it will be necessary for periodic fundraisers. Please think of these as chipping in to keep your coalition going. A natural question is what other sources of funding might be available to us?
Our applications for grants have not been successful for the most part. Grant-makers don't seem to get it that, without licensing CPMs, nothing else really matters much—Medicaid, education, federal "recognition," schmoozing with midwives from the rest of the world, really none of it.
So long as nearly half of the women in the US lack access to Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) just because they live in the wrong state, License First has to be the policy priority. We won't stop sharing this message.
So, again, THANKS SO MUCH to all of you and to everyone else who helped us turn 50+ shades of green into some much-needed green dollars.
Birth Center Study Shows Excellent Outcomes for CPMs and CNMs, Points to Need for More Access for Low-Income Women
Members of the Big Push for Midwives Campaign applaud the publication of the American Association of Birth Centers' landmark National Birth Center Study II in the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health.
The national prospective study pointed to excellent outcomes in midwife-led birth centers run by both Certified Professional Midwives and Certified Nurse-Midwives. Seventy-nine birth centers participated in the study, recording data for more than 15,000 prenatal courses and births. For more information and insights, check out the blog posts and alerts from Childbirth Connection, Citizens for Midwifery, Lamaze International's Science and Sensibility and many others about the study.
While it wasn’t intended as a direct comparison of CPM and CNM outcomes in birth centers, the study nevertheless provides solid evidence that the excellent outcomes achieved in these birth centers occurred regardless of whether a CNM, a CPM, or a joint team of both provided the midwifery care. At the same time the study, which was published in a scientific peer-reviewed journal, shows that outcomes are not dependent upon any one particular midwifery certification program or any particular educational pathway to certification.
The Big Push calls on policy makers to focus on the demographics of the more than 15,000 women who participated in the study. The majority of birth center consumers were middle-class white women, confirming the unfortunate reality that women of color and low-income women are much less likely to take advantage of the out-of-hospital birth options that produce such excellent outcomes.
Increasing access to birth centers through section 2301 of the Affordable Care Act, which added birth centers and midwifery care in birth centers as mandatory Medicaid services, as well as access to home birth through federal legislation that would guarantee CPMs as providers of a mandated Medicaid service, are necessary steps to making the midwives model care in both settings accessible to all women.
The first step needs to be continued pushing for licensing for CPMs, the specialists in out-of-hospital maternity care, to legally practice in all fifty states. Unless they are licensed by their state, CPMs cannot be included in Medicaid, Tricare, and other government programs – including the new health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act – that will make midwifery care accessible to all women. This new study should go far to convince state legislators to license midwives and federal policymakers to include CPMs in these payment systems and other federal health care programs.
We are keeping the focus on what really matters, after all – delivering the kind of excellent woman-centered care highlighted in this study to the women to want and need it.
Shannon Earle holds her new baby Kiera Breen Earle, moments after she was born at their home. (Amanda Steen / NPR)
PushNews from The Big Push for Midwives Campaign
CONTACT: Katherine Prown, (414) 550-8025, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2012
CDC Finds Continued Increase in Home Births - Report Highlights Disparities in Access for Women of Color
WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 26, 2012)—A report released by the CDC today found a 29 percent increase in home births from 2004 to 2009. The rate of home births among non-Hispanic white women underwent a dramatic increase, while the rate for women of color decreased or remained stagnant, a trend that reflects racial and ethnic disparities in other areas of maternity care throughout the U.S.
"Unfortunately, the women who could most benefit from out-of-hospital midwifery care are those who are least likely to have access to Certified Professional Midwives with the specialized training needed to provide it," said Susan Jenkins, Legal Counsel for The Big Push for Midwives Campaign. "The CDC report and other research shows that babies born to women cared for by Certified Professional Midwives are far less likely to be preterm or low birth weight, two of the primary contributing factors not only to infant mortality, but to racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes."
Barriers to out-of-hospital maternity care include laws in 23 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico that prohibit Certified Professional Midwives from practicing, as well as laws or policies in all but 11 of the remaining states that deny Medicaid coverage for home births managed by Certified Professional Midwives.
"As we work to address disparities by increasing the cultural proficiency of midwives practicing in out-of-hospital settings and diversifying the midwifery work force, we also need to change laws nationwide so that all women have access to out-of-hospital maternity care with Certified Professional Midwives," said Jenkins. The Big Push for Midwives Campaign represents tens of thousands of grassroots advocates in the U.S. who support expanding access to Certified Professional Midwives and out-of-hospital maternity care. The mission of The Big Push for Midwives is to educate state and national policymakers and the general public about the reduced costs and improved outcomes associated with out-of-hospital maternity care and to advocate for expanding access to the services of Certified Professional Midwives, who are specially trained to provide it.
PushNews from The Big Push for Midwives Campaign
CONTACT: Katherine Prown, (414) 550-8025, email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 15, 2011
Study: Two-Thirds of OB-GYN Clinical Guidelines Have No Basis in Science
Majority of ACOG Recommendations for Patient Care Found to Be Based on Opinion and Inconsistent Evidence
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 15, 2011)—A study published this month in Obstetrics & Gynecology, the journal of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, found that barely one-third of the organization’s clinical guidelines for OB/GYN practice meet the Level A standard of "good and consistent scientific evidence." The authors of the study found instead that the majority of ACOG recommendations for patient care rank at Levels B and C, based on research that relies on "limited or inconsistent evidence" and on "expert opinion," both of which are known to be inadequate predictors of safety or efficacy.
"The fact that so few of the guidelines that govern routine OB/GYN care in this country are supported by solid scientific evidence—and worse, are far more likely to be based on anecdote and opinion—is a sobering reminder that our maternity care system is in urgent need of reform," said Katherine Prown, PhD, Campaign Manager of The Big Push for Midwives. "As the authors of the study remind us, guidelines are only as good as the evidence that supports them."
ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 22 on the management of fetal macrosomia—infants weighing roughly 8 ½ lbs or more at birth—illustrates the possible risks to mothers and babies of relying on unscientific clinical guidelines. The only Level A evidence-based recommendation on the delivery of large-sized babies the Bulletin makes is to caution providers that the methods for detection are imprecise and unreliable. Yet at the same time, the Bulletin makes a Level C opinion-based recommendation that, despite the lack of a reliable diagnosis, women with "suspected" large babies should be offered potentially unnecessary cesarean sections as a precaution, putting mothers at risk of surgical complications and babies at risk of being born too early.
"It’s no wonder that the cesarean rate is going through the roof and women are seeking alternatives to hospital-based OB/GYN care in unprecedented numbers," said Susan M. Jenkins, Legal Counsel of The Big Push for Midwives. "ACOG’s very own recommendations give its members permission to follow opinion-based practice guidelines that have far more to do with avoiding litigation than with adhering to scientific, evidence-based principles about what’s best for mothers and babies."
The Big Push for Midwives Campaign represents tens of thousands of grassroots advocates in the United States who support expanding access to Certified Professional Midwives and out-of-hospital maternity care. The mission of The Big Push for Midwives is to educate state and national policymakers and the general public about the reduced costs and improved outcomes associated with out-of-hospital maternity care and to advocate for expanding access to the services of Certified Professional Midwives, who are specially trained to provide it.
Media inquiries: Katherine Prown (414) 550-8025, firstname.lastname@example.org
(FULL STUDY is available in PDF format on this page)