This week has been proclaimed Florida Licensed Midwives Week by the office of Florida Governor Charlie Crist, coinciding with National Midwifery Week, a time to recognize the contributions of Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), Certified Midwives (CMs) and Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) nationwide. The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) publicly announces the week with an introduction to midwifery. “The heart of midwifery care for women and newborns lies more in the nature of that care than in its specific components. Midwifery practice has a firm foundation in the critical thought process and is focused on the prevention of disease and the promotion of health, taking the best from the disciplines of midwifery, nursing, public health and medicine to provide safe, holistic care.”
HISTORY OF MIDWIFERY IN FLORIDA: Midwives have a long and valued history in Florida. The state first passed legislation to license direct-entry midwives in 1931. In the 79 years since, Florida’s licensed midwives have continued to tirelessly serve the families of Florida and to ensure the continued availability of safe, evidence-based birthing options for Florida’s families. In 1992, Governor Lawton Chiles declared the first-ever Licensed Midwives Week. More women than ever before are seeking out licensed midwives for maternity care.
ABOUT MIDWIFERY IN FLORIDA: In Florida, two types of midwives are allowed to practice: Certified Nurse-Midwives and Licensed Midwives (a Florida state licensure), also known as direct-entry midwives. Throughout the state, about 11.2 percent of births are estimated to be managed by midwives, rather than by OB-GYNs. Many birth centers and midwives have reported a significant increase in business in the past year. This increase is believed to be a result of various factors, primarily a greater number of women seeking alternative birthing choices due to an unhealthy increase in caesarean sections and other unnecessary interventions that frequently occur in hospital settings. In a 2006 report on Florida Licensed Midwives, midwives had a caesarean section rate of 6.3 percent compared to a 36.64 percent statewide average in hospitals the same year.
“We are humbled by the dedication of the mothers who worked so hard to have this week declared licensed midwifery week,” says licensed midwife Miriam Pearson-Martinez. “We hope that the events happening all over the state this week serve to raise awareness regarding the benefits of midwifery care.”
This article was published by Florida Friends of Midwives