Midwives in Mississippi upset by bill under consideration

By Chip Washington - bio | email

DESOTO COUNTY, MS (WMC-TV) - Mid-South midwives are concerned about a bill under consideration in Mississippi that would ban them from helping women give birth at home.

Midwives like Melissa Stallings say Mississippi House Bill 695 would restrict professional home delivery births across the state.

"They're working to outlaw all midwifery except for CNM's that are registered under the Board of Nursing, not even looking at their sister states and what they've done to regulate home birth and make it safe," Stallings said Thursday.  

It means anyone wanting to have a baby at home would have to use a certified nurse midwife, instead of a licensed professional midwife.

Until now, the Mississippi did not require a certification for midwives.  If passed, the new bill in part would read, "To provide that the practice of midwifery shall only be conducted by certified nurse midwives."

Midwife nurse Martina Benson sees few options.

"There's not any nurse midwifes in Mississippi that service home birth-wise, some in southern Mississippi that work in a hospital, but anybody that wants a home birth by a certified attendant is out of luck," Benson said.

Melissa Padgett, a midwife apprentice, had her children at home and is studying to be a midwife. She is concerned the bill will cause expectant mothers to give birth without any help.

"We're concerned about their safety, that if they have their babies at home without a midwife they will not have help if something goes wrong," Padgett said.

Both Stallings and Benson are certified in the state of Tennessee, and have delivered babies both there and in Mississippi.  They say the bill will also hurt those wanting a home option in terms of cost, which is three times cheaper than a hospital birth.

For more information on the bill, click here.

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