Maryland Families Demand Access to Birth Options

Baltimore, MD:  Women and families in Maryland are entering their fourth year of working to license and legalize Certified Professional Midwives who attend home births in Maryland. The Association of Independent Midwives of Maryland (AIMM), announced their leadership in crafting legislation, in partnership with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and other stakeholders, that will create a licensure for home birth midwives. AIMM is responding to a clear mandate from women in Maryland who want more birthing options. 

Today, AIMM releases a video of mothers advocating for home birth options in Maryland. They represent a larger movement in Maryland of mothers, families, midwives, birthing assistants, and allies who demand a more comprehensive array of pregnancy and birthing care options. Delegate Ariana Kelly, from District 16, has responded to this call by championing the legislation that will allow for licensing of home birth midwives. 

Delegate Kelly explains, “With over 35% of births in Maryland hospitals now ending in cesarean section, women are starting to insist on having more midwifery care options. Women in other states freely access licensed Certified Professional Midwives with great outcomes, and Maryland women want the same choice.” 

Currently, access to home birth and the midwifery model of care in Maryland is limited. Certified Professional Midwives are unlicensed in Maryland, and there are less than a dozen legally practicing home birth Certified Nurse-Midwives in the entire state, mostly located in the DC metro area. Maryland only has one freestanding birth center located in Arnold, Maryland. Families in the rest of the state who want to birth outside of a hospital setting are either seeking out unlicensed midwives or birthing at home without assistance due to a lack of access to licensed home birth midwifery. 

Alexa Richardson, President of AIMM, commented that, “Making midwifery illegal and forcing it underground makes it less safe for moms and babies. Certified Professional Midwives are trained to work collaboratively with doctors and hospitals, transferring to a hospital when necessary to ensure safety. In Maryland, midwives can be prosecuted if they are caught helping a woman birth at home.”   

Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs), the main out-of-hospital birth providers nationwide, are knowledgeable, skilled and professional independent midwifery practitioners. They have met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and are qualified to provide the midwifery model of care. They run over half of the accredited birth centers in the United States. The CPM is the only international credential that requires knowledge about and experience in home birth and birth center settings.

Certified Professional Midwives are currently licensed in 28 states to perform home births. This year legislation will be put forth to license CPMs in Maryland and ensure access to safe and licensed midwifery options for Maryland mothers.