At the end of last month, a report was put out by the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health (JMWH), called Trends in Midwife-Attended Births in the United States, 1989-2009 (read coverage of the report here and here). The report states that rates of births attended by Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) more than doubled between 1989 and 2002, and the percentage of vaginal births attended by CNMs reached 11.8%, an all-time high, in 2009.
Midwives are experts in normal, uncomplicated vaginal births. They approach birth with patience, confidence in every woman’s ability to birth her baby, and they support women and their families throughout pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period. In many other countries, midwives attend a majority of uncomplicated births, leaving the Ob-Gyn physicians’ expertise for those complicated births where it is most needed. Hopefully, this report signifies a trend that will bring the U.S. closer to the maternity care models of so many other countries. After all, those countries do tend to have lower costs and better outcomes.