Last revised: November 9, 2023
The midwifery model of care is based on the assumption that most pregnancies, labors, and births are normal biological processes that result in healthy outcomes for both mothers and babies. It focuses on maximizing the health and well-being of a woman and her baby, identifying and managing medical problems early on, and attending to the emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of pregnancy and birth. Despite much research showing the advantages of the midwifery model of care, fewer than 10% of births in the U.S. are attended by midwives.
Our Bodies Ourselves has long advocated for greater access to midwifery care in all birth settings. Today we continue our midwifery advocacy work, much of it in collaboration with the Bay State Birth Coalition. Since 2022 we have been working together to pass legislation that will allow Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) to be licensed and regulated in Massachusetts (as they are in 33 other states already) as well as for Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) to achieve pay equity and for revisions to the outdated regulations imposed on licensed birthing centers.
We also continue to support the capital campaign for the new Neighborhood Birth Center, which will be Boston’s first freestanding birth center. This Center will provide a much-needed option and will address racial inequities in birth outcomes (now a widely recognized problem throughout the country).
Given the realities of this pandemic era, it is more important than ever to have good out-of-hospital birthing options for those experiencing normal pregnancies. The only two freestanding birth centers in Eastern Massachusetts, both owned by hospitals, suspended operation temporarily during Covid. Despite strong opposition, Beverly Hospital permanently closed the North Shore Birth Center in December 2022. OBOS and other activists have been working hard to ensure the re-opening of the Cambridge Birth Center.
Learn more: View letters and statements from Our Bodies Ourselves and other childbirth advocates supporting out-of-hospital birth centers and the licensure of CPMs.