The Future of Midwifery (Part 3 of the State of Midwifery)

Hello Monday. And thank you daylight savings time for throwing off our weekend a little! The babies and I both took an extra nap yesterday (no complaints there!). The upside is that it was a whole lot lighter in Alaska on Sunday than it was on Friday. And light is awfully noticeable in a state that has been dark since November. I hope your weekend was otherwise lovely and relaxing…let’s talk the last part of the State of Midwifery today.

We talked the State of Midwifery over the past month or so here on the blog. The first part covered how many midwives there are in the United States, what the paths to midwifery look like, and the barriers to education and growing the profession.

The second part talked about how midwives are the perfect solution to our broken maternity care system and can care for the majority of low to moderate risk women during pregnancy. Most high risk women can still have midwifery care as long as the midwife is collaborating with an OB/GYN. Midwives can fill many gaps in the maternity care system and are the solution to a very broken system. If you missed the previous posts, check them out here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

Today, we get to do a little dreaming about the future of midwifery. And Part 3 is just that: What does the future of midwifery look like?

Many women assume that any one can access the type of health care they want (whenever they want). The short answer is: No, they probably can’t. And we’re rather far from that goal. But I believe we can get there and it takes one small step at a time.

My dream for midwifery is this: for every woman that desires midwifery care, she is able to access and receive care from a midwife. That every woman has a midwife on the labor and delivery deck for her labor, birth and postpartum care; or a home visit at 2 days, 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 6 weeks to check on her and the baby. If we don’t dream the standard, it won’t happen.

I believe the small steps differ from midwives, to midwife students, to women, and to others in the journey…but it’s helpful to see it from every person’s point of view. Start now. Start today. Together, we can do anything.

For women….

  • Seek out midwifery care for your pregnancy, birth and well-woman needs (and know that you may have to pay out of pocket for midwifery birth services). Ask if your current
  • Share your stories of midwifery care and how your midwife compared to other obstetric care you received (check out these stories: here, here, here and here!).
  • Register to vote in your state and keep up with legislation related to healthcare, pregnancy, women, birth and midwives. Support proactive laws and voice opposition to restricting laws. We live in a democracy and you have a right to share your voice.
  • Know the hallmarks of midwifery and use those as your benchmark for maternity care.
  • Keep reading and keep learning. Healthcare is changing every day. Make sure you’re reading good information that is well cited and educational. Don’t know where to start? Check out the RESOURCES.

For midwives….

  • Keep being an awesome midwife. Show up, smile, give excellent care. Be there for women, their babies and their families.
  • Precept aspiring midwives. Help make more midwives. Midwife students need approximately 1,000 clinical hours. Every hour counts…every hour helps make a new midwife.
  • Go back to school. Run for public office. Start a business. We need midwives beyond the bedside. We need midwives as hospital administrators, legislators, mayors, non-profit leaders, community leaders…the possibilities are endless. The point is this: at some point, we need midwives to do more than be with women and their babes. Keep your heart and ears open for these possibilities. Listen to the needs of your community – does your community need to learn more about midwives? Host a table at a local health fair and educate your community about midwives!
  • Stay involved. Be a member of the national and local organizations. If there’s a seat at the table, make sure a midwife is sitting in it!
  • Keep reading. Read new evidence. Read new guidelines. Don’t ever stop reading.
  • Keep believing.

For aspiring midwives…

  • Whether you’re in midwifery training now, or just aspire to one day be a midwife, keep up the hard work. Women need you. The maternity care system needs you. Know that midwifery training is long, hard and totally worth it.
  • Join professional organizations as a student and stay involved.
  • Find midwives in your community – offer to take them to coffee and ask about their job, their hours, and birth in the community.
  • Start brainstorming solutions now. The maternity care system needs repairing. Help find the solutions.

For organizations…

“March of Dimes supports increased access to midwifery care for low- and moderate-risk women as part of an integrated system of care…

…March of Dimes supports efforts to expand access to midwifery care and further
integrate midwives and their model of care into maternity care in all states. This
can help improve access to maternity care in under-resourced areas, reduce
interventions that contribute to risk of maternal mortality and morbidity in initial
and subsequent pregnancies, lower costs, and potentially improve the health of
mothers and babies.

…March of Dimes encourages states to examine their laws and regulations related
to midwifery care to ensure they are not unnecessarily restrictive, foster access to
these services for women who desire them, and promote full practice authority for
midwives as part of an integrated system of care.”

  • Conduct more research. Continue to show that midwives offer the same outcomes as OB/GYNs with fewer interventions.
  • Collaborate with national midwifery organizations. Collaboration ultimately supports better maternal and infant outcomes.

The future of midwifery is bright. It takes every single person. Believe in the future standard.

If you haven’t read the mission and vision of A Midwife Nation, check them out here. If you haven’t shared your story – now’s the time to inspire others (share here)! What are your thoughts about the future of midwifery? How are you helping now? How do you want to help? What are you solutions? Can’t wait to see what you have to say!

Hope the start of your week is great! I have a toddler ski lesson on the week (it’s so much fun to see a 3 year old learn how to ski!) and the last week of my graduate school semester (PRAISE hands). It’s going to be a great week!

Jamie

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