The Potential Dangers of Midwife Assisted Births
The birth of a child is highly personal and emotional event. Many women are not comfortable with the perceived impersonal nature of a hospital. In the alternative, many choose to have their babies at home or in a birthing center with the assistance of a midwife. Midwives provide assistance throughout the pregnancy, as well as the actual birthing stage. They often use natural pain management skills and help the mother to deliver in a more personalized environment. The debate over midwives is a heated one. Proponents assert that midwives provide a more natural experience, while opponents counter that midwives lack the necessary skill to handle birth emergencies that may occur. When birth injuries do occur though, a court may find the midwife liable.
Midwife Education and Training
In the United States, there are three general classifications for midwives.
- Direct entry midwives (DEM) are usually not certified. They are generally educated by self-study and they may participate in apprenticeships.
- Certified midwives (CM) may not be nurses, but they do meet the requirements of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
- Certified professional midwives (CPM) must meet the North American Registry of Midwives certification requirements.
- Certified nurse midwives (CNM) are nurse practitioners. They also must meet the requirements of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
The state of Florida regulates midwives through the Council of Licensed Midwifery, which falls under the state’s Department of Health. Midwives must meet minimum requirements and obtain licensing before they are allowed to practice within the state. Some of the requirements include:
- Successful completion of an approved midwifery program;
- Passing scores on the North American Registry of Midwives written examination; and
- Proof of liability insurance totaling at least $100,000 per claim and a $300,000 minimum annual aggregate.
Concerns about Midwifery
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report in January about the dangers of home births. It supported the argument about the risks of midwife-assisted home births. When complications occur in a hospital, there are procedures and resources in place to handle them quickly. When complications occur outside of a hospital, emergency services are called for transportation to the hospital. Time is of the essence in this situation and the added transport time can make the difference between life and death for the mother as well as the child.
A study in the American Journal of Obstetrics concluded that stillborn births are more than 10 times more likely to occur during home birth deliveries, when compared to those taking place inside of a hospital. Cesarean sections and the use of delivery instruments, like forceps, are commonly used in hospitals. While some pregnant women find these procedures overly invasive and off-putting, many medical professionals assert that they are necessary for the promotion of healthy deliveries.
If you or a loved one has experienced an injury during a midwife-assisted delivery, contact the Miami legal team of Pita Weber & Del Prado for knowledgeable and skillful representation. Call the office today at 305-670-2889 for a free consultation.