Colorado Midwives Association statement on Unassisted Birth in the Community
Colorado’s registered midwives are currently in their sunset year, working hard to maintain the RM credential and access to homebirth midwives. One of the biggest assets to CPMs and CNMs, as well as our community, is our doulas. Doulas see the quality of care midwives provide to birth families. Doulas are a deeply valuable resource for the community.
Recently however, a few doulas have become vocal in their encouragement of unassisted birth and advertising of unassisted birth support. When doulas encourage and suggest birth families have an unassisted birth, they are putting that birthing person and baby at risk because they are not qualified to determine what is low risk. Risk assessment is providing medical advice, medical advice can be viewed as practicing medicine without a license.
Doulas work collaboratively with midwives and form professional relationships with midwives in the community. Doulas suggesting unassisted birth and seeking advice and information from midwives during their support at an unassisted birth, puts midwives across the state at risk of losing their licenses and credentials.
We stand with midwives in Colorado. Midwives exhaustively work to provide accessible homebirth care for our community. Talk with your midwives to find the right fit for you.
Unassisted childbirth, occasionally referred to as freebirth, is defined as “intentionally giving birth without a midwife or doctor present.” A very small portion of families who choose homebirth, choose to forgo the care of homebirth-based health care practitioner.
Midwife is defined as a medically trained provider who assists in childbirth. Midwives in Colorado are trained in one of two ways. The direct entry model, currently requires midwives to obtain their national credential through the North American Registry of Midwives, certifying as a professional midwife (CPM) allowed them to license with the state as Registered Midwife. The nurse midwifery model, allows nurses to complete an advance practice degree and earn their Certified Nurse Midwife credential. Both paths require continuing education, certification, and both types of midwives may attend homebirths in Colorado.
Doula is defined as a trained companion, who is not a healthcare professional, who supports families through their birth experience.
The Colorado Midwives Association believes in the Midwives Model of Care as defined by the Midwifery Task Force via Citizens for Midwifery. https://www.citizensformidwifery.org/mmoc
“The Midwives Model of Care includes:
- Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the birthing person throughout the childbearing cycle
- Providing the birthing person with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
- Minimizing technological interventions
- Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention
The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.”
We believe homebirth is safest when attended by skilled out of hospital healthcare providers. More information can be found in the following links:
- Outcomes of planned home birth with registered midwife versus planned hospital birth with midwife or physician
- Homebirth Study One-page Fact Sheet
- Planned Homebirth
With care and compassion,
CMA Board of Directors