5-13-11: On the Subject of Birth
Earlier this week, we looked into the practice of midwifery in Maryland. Sheilah spoke with Erin Wright, the president of the Maryland Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives, and Karen Carr, a certified professional midwife, who pled guilty in Virginia last week to two felonies, stemming from the death of a baby after a home birth. Karen Carr’s certification as a midwife is not recognized by the state of Maryland.
The segment spurred a number of comments, which received via email, phone and online. Brigitte Jacobson of Baltimore, who had a home birth, wrote to us:
Not commenting on this specific case, but on home birth in general, midwives who are willing to accept excessive risk are just as harmful as doctors who aren’t willing to accept any risk at all. The former hurt women and children in the home birthing community by making it appear to be a dangerous and foolish option, while the latter hurt women and children in hospitals around the country by having zero faith in the process of child birth, and preferring instead to poke, prod, and cut.
Meanwhile, Tzadik Vanderhoof lives in Baltimore, but ten years ago he and his wife lived in Israel, and had two children there. He called to tell us:
“The birth experience was totally run by midwives. When you’d go to the hospital, the midwife would be in charge of the whole birth experience. The doctor would be on call, and would pop in at least once during the birth. And it’s like that at every hospital — it’s just part of their system of birth. It just seems non-invasive and natural–less medical.
We also heard from Susan Jenkins, who provides legal counsel for The Big Push for Midwives, a group dedicated to getting certified professional midwives regulated an licensed in all 50 states. She wrote on our website:
There is a growing movement all across the country to make sure that midwives who provide out-of-hospital births are licensed and regulated. So far, laws have been passed in 27 states, including Virginia, but we still need this type of law in Maryland and D.C. There is no reason why CPMs like Karen Carr can’t be licensed and regulated just like any other kind of health professional.
We’re planning to continue our coverage of obstetrics, midwifery, and home birth—and we want to hear your questions and experiences. Give us a call at 410-881-3162. You can also email us at mdmorning@wypr-dot-org–or leave a comment below.