Take A Stand For North Carolina Families and their Birth Choices

Imagine being nearly 40 weeks pregnant and the receiving a phone call that your midwife no longer has a supervising doctor to sign off on your birth.  Pretty much overnight it has become illegal for her to attend the homebirth of your newborn baby.  She is the only care provider that you have seen, the only care provider that you feel comfortable with, she is a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), has attended many homebirths and is extremely qualified to attend yours as well.

Just last week this very scenario happened to many North Carolina women.  Overseeing physicians of  at least 7 North Carolina Certified Nurse Midwives just dropped them without warning.  This has left many women with the major decision of who and where to transfer their care.  Not only is this event a violation of a right of these low-risk mothers to give birth with whom and where they choose, but it is a traumatic experience for a mom who is just about to have a baby and has her heart set on a homebirth.  It also puts a new mom in the care of a provider that doesn’t know the history of her or her baby.  And, in most cases each of these women will not be able to have a homebirth legally as they desire.

It seems, that without warning, the North Carolina Board of Medicine advised the supervising physicians of these homebirth CNMs that they were no longer allowed to oversee midwives that are outside of their practice.  North Carolina is only 1 of 5 states where Certified Nurse Midwives are required to get a signature of an overseeing physician to attend a homebirth.  There are other states such as Nebraska where CNMs are unable to attend homebirths at all.

Right now, there are no other legal options in North Carolina for families to choose homebirth. Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) are direct entry midwives that are trained specifically for homebirths and can not practice legally in North Carolina.  They can practice legally in 27 states, but North Carolina is not one of them.  The North Carolina Friends of Midwives (NCFOM) has been working for years to get CPMs a right to practice legally in the state of North Carolina.  And now that CNMs are being restricted from attending homebirths, families are in crisis as their birth choices are being restricted.

There are many studies that support homebirth as a safe option for low-risk moms, and there is really no good reason for the North Carolina Board of Medicine to restrict the rights of couples who choose to take the homebirth option.

You can help give women their rights to have a homebirth by taking these steps:

Sign the Petition – North Carolina Medical Board: Allow Physicians to continue supervising Homebirths in North Carolina

Visit the North Carolina Friends of Midwives website and contact local legislature to take action and support women in their right to give birth at home.

Here’s an update from Christie Fredenburg CPM, Holistic Doula, and Childbirth Educator who practices in Tennessee and Virginia, but is a resident of North Carolina:

Right now, our Midwifery Licensing Act (H522 and S662) is needing to be heard by the House Health Committee. Everyone can call Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net 919-733-3451 to urge Speaker Tillis to hear AND vote H522. We rang it off the hook today. Even my home born 6 year old got in on the act! This bill will offer licenses and autonomy of practice to CPMs and CNMs. That’s not to say we don’t need or want doctors! We are also seeking to make collaborative care between midwives and doctors easier and with clear lines of communication. Of course, this leaves each with responsibility for one’s own practice, and ideally, responsibility for choices lies with the parents as their chosen health care providers assist them with information to make those choices. Let’s provide opportunities for families to be truly free to choose where and with whom they birth.

And, you can sign a second petition here.

Thanks for making your voice heard and support families of North Carolina’s right to give birth at home!