Dr. Terry J. Burrell letter: There is difference between midwives
In response to the article in state newspapers regarding the home birth of the Johnson triplets: I feel it is important to explain the difference between a lay midwife and a certified nurse midwife. Apparently, a lay midwife delivered this set of...
In response to the article in state newspapers regarding the home birth of the Johnson triplets:
I feel it is important to explain the difference between a lay midwife and a certified nurse midwife. Apparently, a lay midwife delivered this set of triplets.
Not all midwives are created equally and this holds true, especially through the varied ways they receive their training. I am a registered nurse with a master's degree in nurse-midwifery from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate in human biology. I have certification through the American College of Nurse-Midwives. A certified nurse-midwife needs to obtain a nursing degree as a registered nurse prior to entrance in any midwifery program and must pass the board certification exam by the ACNM. Job experience as an RN is also necessary before the rigors of nurse-midwifery education begin. All university-based nurse-midwifery programs require a master's degree for completion.
I am state chairman for the American College of Nurse Midwives. I provide primary care services, including OB-GYN care, to women. I am an active member of the medical staff at Innovis Health in Fargo, and I have immediate access to an obstetrician for emergency situations and for consultation and referral for any high-risk patients. By statute, certified nurse-midwives in North Dakota are required to contract with a physician if they are to practice full-scope midwifery with prescriptive privileges.
I do not in any way participate in home births, and my four certified nurse midwife colleagues in this state also would not and do not under any circumstances participate in a home birth and would never deliver triplets without the assistance of a board-certified OB-GYN.
Most lay midwives do not have a nursing degree and acquire training through an apprenticeship, usually with another lay midwife. Lay midwives do not have physician backup, so if and when something unexpected happens or a complication arises, they are not prepared to respond to an emergency such as was experienced recently with the birth of the triplets. This family was very fortunate to have a positive outcome after intervention by health professionals. A number have not been so lucky.
Additional information can be obtained by visiting the following Web sites: www.awhonn.org and www.acnm.com .
Dr. Terry J. Burrell, CNM, Ph.D.
Dakota Clinic at Innovis Health