Shannon Earle holds her new baby Kiera Breen Earle, moments after she was born at their home. (Amanda Steen / NPR)
PushNews from The Big Push for Midwives Campaign
CONTACT: Katherine Prown, (414) 550-8025, [email protected]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2012
CDC Finds Continued Increase in Home Births - Report Highlights Disparities in Access for Women of Color
WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 26, 2012)—A report released by the CDC today found a 29 percent increase in home births from 2004 to 2009. The rate of home births among non-Hispanic white women underwent a dramatic increase, while the rate for women of color decreased or remained stagnant, a trend that reflects racial and ethnic disparities in other areas of maternity care throughout the U.S.
"Unfortunately, the women who could most benefit from out-of-hospital midwifery care are those who are least likely to have access to Certified Professional Midwives with the specialized training needed to provide it," said Susan Jenkins, Legal Counsel for The Big Push for Midwives Campaign. "The CDC report and other research shows that babies born to women cared for by Certified Professional Midwives are far less likely to be preterm or low birth weight, two of the primary contributing factors not only to infant mortality, but to racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes."
Barriers to out-of-hospital maternity care include laws in 23 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico that prohibit Certified Professional Midwives from practicing, as well as laws or policies in all but 11 of the remaining states that deny Medicaid coverage for home births managed by Certified Professional Midwives.
"As we work to address disparities by increasing the cultural proficiency of midwives practicing in out-of-hospital settings and diversifying the midwifery work force, we also need to change laws nationwide so that all women have access to out-of-hospital maternity care with Certified Professional Midwives," said Jenkins. The Big Push for Midwives Campaign represents tens of thousands of grassroots advocates in the U.S. who support expanding access to Certified Professional Midwives and out-of-hospital maternity care. The mission of The Big Push for Midwives is to educate state and national policymakers and the general public about the reduced costs and improved outcomes associated with out-of-hospital maternity care and to advocate for expanding access to the services of Certified Professional Midwives, who are specially trained to provide it.