Pushing for Change: The State of Arizona Should Allow Women Greater Access to Midwifery Care

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Leia Dingott

The evidence in support of homebirths continues to pile up, and yet many states, including Arizona, continue to be influenced by the powerful lobby rather than by the facts and interests of the primary stakeholders, mothers, and babies. Maternal health in the United States is in a state of crisis with 437 woman dying annually (13 deaths per 100,000 births) from childbirth or complications from childbirth. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that half of these deaths are preventable. Recently, there has been a grassroots movement among woman to find direct entry midwives and birth at home. But there has been push-back from the medical community and state legislatures. The medical community claims that hospitals are the safest place to give birth, yet these numbers come from hospital births since most births in the United States occur in hospitals under the care of doctors. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) has repeatedly spoken out against the safety of homebirths and only recently has acknowledged the safety of birthing at a freestanding birth center assisted by a midwife. Other countries have more integrated systems that allow low-risk women to see and give birth at home with a midwife. These countries also have better maternal and infant mortality rates.

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