Some of you might remember a protest about a year ago in front of our 150 Building. About 100 folks were carrying placards asking us to make it easier to have a home-birth in AZ. They were mostly young families and some licensed midwives- and they were urging us to change our licensing rules for midwives. That day last December, I met with 2 representatives from the group and set up a roadmap to work out the issues. We set up a dialog so we could come up with a solution together and the Stakeholder team shepherded a bill through the process that will help us solve some of the issues they were concerned about. The bill gave us exempt rulemaking authority to overhaul our rules for licensing AZ midwives and set up an advisory committee to help us with the decision-making.
We had our first advisory committee meeting last week. While we made some progress- we didn’t make as much as I would have liked. We’ll be making modifications to the procedures at the next meeting, which will be held on Monday, December 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the basement of the 1740 W. Adams building. I’ll be co-chairing the future meetings with Dr. Cara Christ. The meeting notices and minutes will be posted on this website.
We’ve been asked by consumers to consider changing the scope of practice for midwives to allow them to attend vaginal births after a previous cesarean, breech (feet first) presentation, and delivering twins, among other things. These are currently considered out of the scope of practice for midwives. It was clear at our first committee meeting that there’s currently little consensus among the Stakeholders (obstetricians, midwives and consumers) about whether the scope of practice for midwives should be expanded to include these types of things.
I still have hope that we can come up with a set of final regulations that all sides can live with… but getting there will require a review of the scientific literature regarding the safety and risks of home births attended by midwives. That’s why we’ve asked the U of A’s College of Public Health to conduct a review of the scientific literature regarding the relative risks of vaginal births after cesarean, breech (feet first) presentation, and delivering twins at home. They’ll begin work shortly on a scientific literature review and provide us with an analysis in early 2013. By using scientific evidence I’m hoping we’ll find some common ground.