Maryland and Midwife vs. Midwife

This week Maryland become the latest state to license Direct Entry Midwives (DEMs), allowing them to attend home and birth center birth. This leaves 21 states that do not. I read this article about the bill and couldn’t help but get sucked into the comments.

Claudia Booker (Right) a CPM and attorney in Virginia was involved in the push to legalize CPMs in Maryland. Pictured here at the Home Birth Summit, she and attorneys Tara Gaston (Left) and Hermine Hayes-Klein (Center) talked to the Why Not Home? crew about some of the legal challenges to home birth midwives and mothers in the US. Photo Credit: Erin Wrightsman

Claudia Booker (Right) a CPM and attorney in Virginia was involved in the push to legalize CPMs in Maryland. Pictured here at the Home Birth Summit, she and attorneys Tara Gaston (Left) and Hermine Hayes-Klein (Center) talked to the Why Not Home? crew about some of the legal challenges to home birth midwives and mothers in the US. Photo Credit: Erin Wrightsman

The biggest criticism of Certified Professional Midwives and DEMs is that their education and training is not rigorous enough. “Midwives in Europe are more like Certified Nurse Midwives,” you’ll often hear. I won't get into the more vitriolic comments.

As a Family Nurse Practitioner, trained in university settings, working in hospitals and outpatient clinics, this other kind of midwife, the CPM or Direct Entry Midwife was mysterious and poorly understood.

Until I really got into this project, I knew very little about the requirements or training. My colleagues would say the same.

Over the past year I’ve come to understand much more about this qualification thanks to women like Ellie Daniels and many others at the Home Birth Summit and in my community.

Still I’m struggling with how to lay out the differences in a way that's simple enough for anyone to understand. I don't want to get bogged down and bore viewers with the layers of nuance and complexity, but I do want to be fair and accurate.

Thankfully women like Tanashia Huff and the staff at the Florida School for Traditional Midwifery showed me what the CPM training at FSTM looks like. This will certainly help viewers understand the education of CPMs. Still, many CPMs have less than the 3 year training program offered through FSTM. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good midwives, it just means their training was different, and I think that’s important for consumers to understand.

I’m curious to hear from other home birth moms, what did you know about your midwife’s training and experience when you chose her to attend your birth? What was important for you in choosing your midwife?


Oh, and you have less than a week left to order T-shirts

If we meet our goal of 215 shirts it will allow us to purchase some great archival footage to add to this film. If you love archival footage and would rather just donate and not get a T-shirt click here