This guest post was written by Robin Hutson, Executive Director of The Birth Trust. The Birth Trust raises money from everyone in order to fund projects that increase access to midwifery in North America.
The Birth Trust is a foundation that hopes to increase access to midwifery care in the United States. As Executive Director, I have been talking with moms about childbirth and their birth stories for years. Many women think that if they did not use midwives, then this issue is not about them. That is not true. Below are three reasons why midwives matter to us all:
Reason #1: Increased Access and Choice
Midwifery advocates are not advocating for women to choose midwives. We are advocating for access to midwifery care for ALL childbearing women who want it. Sadly, many women desperately want midwifery care and cannot have it. Midwives still attend less than 10% of all births in this country, while in Massachusetts, it is 11%. This number is well over 50% in the rest of the developed world.
Reason #2: Less Interventive Care and Improved Outcomes for ALL Populations
We are lucky to live in the Boston area with access to outstanding hospitals, a few birth centers, and homebirth midwives. Many of us don’t see that our maternity care in the US is in crisis, with maternal and infant deaths worse than any other developed country, and our racial disparities in birth outcomes for moms and babies is a critical problem. African American women have cesarean sections at three times the rate of any other race, and much higher rates of pre-term labor and low birth weight infants. Sadly, these disparities do not improve much even if the mother is college-educated.
Midwifery care by certified nurse midwives addresses all of these problems; it has been proven to lower cesarean rates and medical intervention, reduce disparities of maternal and infant outcomes by race, education, and immigrant statue.
Reason #3: More Affordable Care
Midwifery care can be a valuable safety net for our most vulnerable childbearing women. When their needs are addressed the benefits of midwifery care trickle up to the rest of us, making hospitals more amenable to births without harmful and unnecessary interventions and reducing health care costs as maternity care is one of our biggest bills in healthcare.
The Birth Trust raises money from everyone in order to fund projects that increase access to midwifery in North America. Right now, you can choose your favorite project, and the lucky winner will receive a $5,000 award from Floradix.
Please vote by May 30th!