2020 - International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife!

2020 – International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife!

Welcome to the Beginnings Birth Center Blog!  Here you can read about the latest and greatest happenings in midwifery, women’s health, and newborn care.  The midwives and their friends at Beginnings Birth Center will share their passion for all things birth centers with women and their families at the center of all that we do. As we enter a new year, a new decade, and our 2nd year of practicing at Beginnings Birth Center we have so much to celebrate!  We joyfully welcomed 162 babies during our 1st year of being open!  We anticipate many more births in 2020- which magnificently has been designated by The World Health Organization as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”.



2020 - International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife!

This comes at a critically important time as we are truly amid a maternal and infant health care crisis in the US. Lack of access to care and birth options for moms and babies continues to be a major concern. More maternal deaths occur in the United States than in any other developed country in the world.  Additionally, severe complications from childbirth are at an all-time high and racial disparities are staggering (for example black women are 4 x more likely to die in childbirth than white women in the US).  Preterm birth rates also continue to increase with 10% of babies in the US is born too soon giving the US a “C” grade from the March of Dimes 2019 Report Card.

Other trends you may be aware of include a declining fertility/birth rate overall, declining teen pregnancy rate, rising maternal age for the first birth, rising use of Medicaid for maternity care and finally a plateau (no, not an improvement) on cesarean birth rates, currently hovering around 32% (the world health organization recommends this number should be around 10%).  

The State of Maternity Care

You may be asking right now why I am sharing this information.  It sounds pretty doom and gloom doesn’t it?  Well, I’m sharing because as a consumer you have the right to know about the state of maternity care! The good news is that we know one thing for sure- midwives are part of the solution to these problems!  How do I know?  Well, I may be somewhat biased being a midwife myself, but I am also a data junkie!  So, I’m going to share some data with you along with some great websites so you can see for yourself! 

In February of 2018, Vedam et al published a research article titled “Mapping integration of midwives across the United States: Impact on access, equity, and outcomes.”  Researchers developed a weighted composite midwifery integration scoring system (MISS) and then ranked states based on their MISS score.  The highest score any state achieved was 61 (Washington) and the lowest 17 (North Carolina). Colorado fell in the middle with a score of 41. Researchers were then able to calculate maternal-newborn outcomes by state including correlation of these outcomes where midwives were and were not integrated.

The higher the MISS score the more likely the following were to occur:

  • spontaneous vaginal birth
  • vaginal birth after cesarean
  • breastfeeding
  • preterm birth, low birth weight infants, and neonatal death occurred at significantly lower rates in states with a high MISS score. 

The bottom line- the more midwives are integrated into the health care system the better outcomes are for both moms and babies.

Increased access to midwifery care is correlated with improved outcomes for families

Hard to argue with that one right?  Well, we still have a lot of work to do in the US to create a truly integrated system. Currently, in the US approximately 10% of births are attended by midwives, whereas in other developed countries 50-75% of births are attended by midwives.  Several organizations are campaigning to increase access to midwifery care in the US.  The World Health Organization, American College of Nurse-Midwives, Midwives Alliance of North America, The Elephant Circle, and more.  I often quote ANCM’s brochure- “Every Woman Deserves A Midwife”!  So this year, 2020- International Year of the Nurse and Midwife you will hear a lot from us about the midwifery model of care and the benefits to moms and babies.  We hope that if you have received care from a midwife you have shared your experience far and wide!

If you are looking for more information on the topics covered in this blog here are some references for your viewing pleasure!

Additional Resources about 2020 International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.