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The Way We Talk About Midwifery Care Matters

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The Way We Talk About Midwifery Care Matters
by Avital Norman Nathman and Deborah Wage

“Words like “allowing” and “lets” imply a submissive relationship within the U.S. health-care system, in which permission may or may not be granted to midwives in order to practice what they have been trained, licensed, and certified to do.”

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Unfortunately, when it comes to midwives actually practicing, this type of language has set the stage, so to speak. In the United States, midwives—who are overwhelmingly female, which is a factor that cannot be overlooked in this discussion—are “allowed” to do their jobs, and only then with many constraints that often restrict them from practicing to the fullest extent of their licensure. Regulatory restrictions vary from state to state and affect the type of care midwives can provide, including where they can practice, what types of patients they are “allowed” to care for, and, oftentimes, how much they will be reimbursed for their services.

When it comes to maternity care in the United States, the model of care needs to change to one where both physicians and midwives can flourish equally, as has been the case in the United Kingdom and other European countries. At present, we also need to be aware of how we discuss and frame the work of those providing care. Our for-profit system is set up to reward those billing more hours, patients, and procedures—due to the model of care they provide, that isn’t usually midwives. That has since translated into society viewing midwives as “less than” providers, despite evidence that they should be leading the way in all aspects of maternity care. Please read the entire article HERE.

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