Sunday, October 21, 2012

Huntsville Walk for Midwives

Yesterday morning more than 100 proponents of a woman's right to choose how and where she gives birth gathered at Big Spring Park for the Walk for Midwives. They raised money for the Alabama Birth Coalition, but more importantly, they were hoping to raise awareness about the importance of changing the Alabama law.

The majority of states allow women to give birth as they choose. Alabama, however, does not. In Alabama, women who would prefer to give birth in the comfort of their own home with a trained professional midwife are denied that option. There is much debate about the safety of women giving birth at home, and this isn't the forum to debate that.

However, if we had greater availability of midwives routinely offering services in Alabama hospitals and birth centers, perhaps fewer mothers would opt for home birth. Women who want to avoid interventions, who want to labor in the water and who want to give birth in non-traditional positions often feel they don't have those options with an Ob/Gyn in a traditional hospital setting. Although we do have some doctors in our area who are very open to a woman's preferences, the presence of midwives working alongside them would go a long way toward helping this group of mothers feel comfortable.

The Alabama Birth Coalition is working to change the law in Alabama. If Blue Cross Blue Shield would change the way they cover midwife deliveries in the hospital setting, that would be a terrific first step. Another important step is the legalization and regulation of Certified Professional Midwives. Many rural Alabama counties have no prenatal care or hospital at all. That's one of the primary reasons that Alabama has such a high infant mortality rate. Women in these rural counties would be well-served by the changes in legislation that the Alabama Birth Coalition is seeking.

1 comment: