by Kiersten Figurski
The author of this article, Kiersten Figurski is a practicing midwife in New Mexico.
“Planned home birth for low risk women in North America using certified professional midwives was associated with lower rates of medical intervention but similar intrapartum and neonatal mortality to that of low risk hospital births in the United States.”(http://www.bmj.com%2Fcontent%2F330%2F7505%2F1416.full)
In the area of the United States, where I live and practice as a Licensed Midwife and Certified Professional Midwife, approximately 25 percent of all babies are born outside the hospital. This means that only 75% of all the birthing women choose to give birth in the hospital.
Here in Taos, New Mexico, United States there is a long history of licensed and regulated midwifery. We deliver approximately 60 babies every year to healthy, low risk mothers. We have very strict protocols and are regulated by the Department of Maternal Health. Our statistics are superior. We have a 5% c-section rate compared to a national rate of 33%.
The ever-rising c-section rate is catastrophic. The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends hospital rates of 11% c-section to be the safest. There is a clear correlation between the rise in surgical delivery and maternal mortality.
I believe that providing a superior environment for midwives to be trained, licensed and regulated will provide women and families seeking homebirth and birth center birth with a safe option. Hospital births with high intervention rates, are not the safest birth options and women know this. Women deserve to be informed of their birthing choices. Statistics prove, again and again, that Midwifery care is safe “if not safer” for a low-risk mother.
I am a licensed Midwife and a Certified Professional Midwife attending homebirth and birth center Births in Taos, New Mexico, USA. I began my training in Leipzig, Germany and continued and graduated from the National College of Midwifery. Through the North American Alliance of Midwives I became nationally certified and also licensed in the state of New Mexico.
We have an incredible situation here in Taos. We have a wonderful working relationship with the two OB/GYNs in Taos. They are extremely supportive of Midwives and our practice They are readily available for any of our transfers and will collaborate with our clients that need doctor surveillance. We care, only, for a low-risk population.
Homebirth in Dixon, New Mexico with Midwives Joan Norris, Kiersten and apprentices Dahna Goldstein, Hilary Flaming and Treska Stein (Kiersten’s daughter)
When midwives practice and attend births with a fear of prosecution and persecution, this demanding profession can become unsafe. Making decisions about transfer of care and being forced to take into consideration the possibility of being subject to legal action could delay a transfer and lead to a bad outcome. This is unsafe care. Doctors and Midwives working together to provide seamless continuity of care is ideal and provides mothers and families with the safest care ever.
This is why the Northern New Mexico Birth Center has become a model for maternity care and childbirth all across the United States. I am proud to live in a state that regulates Midwifery and offers the best care for all it’s citizens. I am even happier to work at the Northern New Mexico Birth Center.
I have spent many months in Budapest and absolutely love the city. I have always dreamed of living and working in Budapest. I now see that this would be impossible. The hostile environment towards midwives and families choosing homebirth make it undesirable. I hope that, one day, Budapest and all of Hungary’s families may enjoy the beauty and bliss of safe and regulated Midwifery care.
See also the article about Ágnes Geréb and her case in The Guardian: