- May 14, 2019
-- Emily Anesta founder of the Bay State Birth Coalition, a consumer group that advocates for greater access to midwives and out-of-hospital birth options in Massachusetts presented last Monday night before the Cambridge City Council. "If you were sleeping today, you might not know that Meghan Markle had a home birth with midwives" Anesta opened with, "Meghan made the choice to have a home birth attended by midwives out of the hospital setting in her home. Unfortunately in Massachusetts has limited birth choices." Despite what the United States spends on maternal health care, it has the highest maternal death rates in the developed world and less birth choices. Cambridge has more access to midwives than in most of Massachusetts. Mayor McGovern stated, "Expanding access to certified midwives ensures that mothers throughout the state can experience the same care and health benefits that my family has known personally. As Mayor, and as a father, I am glad that Cambridge added its name to the effort to pass the Out-of-Hospital Birth Access and Safety Act so that mothers and families can be supported in their birthing choice."
Nurse-midwives licensed in Massachusetts primarily attend births in the hospital setting. The majority of home births in Massachusetts are with a Certified Professional Midwife which are not currently licensed, regulated, or integrated into our health care system. Tara Kenny, a Cambridge CPM sees this as a hurdle to birth choice, "It is our right as human beings to have choices when it comes to our bodies and how and where we birth our children. Thank you Cambridge for acknowledging this right! One of the biggest challenges with being a CPM in MA is that we serve a very small group of families who can pay out of pocket for our care. This tends to be white, educated people. My hope is that with licensure more families from various socioeconomic backgrounds would be able to access our care and benefit from our services. It's also a challenge and can make it unsafe for our families to not have a bridge between CPMs and hospitals in the case of a transfer. My hope is that with our CPM credential having recognition by the state, we can provide safer care for the families we work with."
Massachusetts is behind 35 other states who now license Certified Professional Midwives, regulate, and integrate them. In New Hampshire and Vermont, home birth or birth center births are covered by insurance or Medicaid, but not in Massachusetts. The Out-of-Hospital Birth Access & Safety Act will transform the maternity care system to serve all with respect and dignity in a model that supports birth choice.
To learn more about Bay State Coalition: http://baystatebirth.org