The Birth Survey Booby Traps

Public Citizen Study

pregnancy photo and ultrasound

The American College of Nurse-Midwives is pleased to report that a recent study issued by a consumer advocacy group called Public Citizen has further documented the safety, cost-effectiveness and benefits of nurse-midwifery care. The study includes data from more than 400 nurse-midwifery hospital-based practices and 68 freestanding birth centers.

The key findings of the study include:

1) most certified nurse-midwives(CNMs) who attend hospital birth are caring for not only low risk women but also moderate and high risk women through co-management with a physician.
2) Most CNMs are providing obstetric and gynecological care for their clients.
3) The overall C-section rate of the survey respondents (who represent 50-60% of the nation's CNM attended births) was 11.6%. The vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) rate averaged 68.9%. The C-section rate is half the national average and the VBACrate is 2.8 times the national average.
4) Nurse-midwives individualize their care, giving women flexibility in labor in order to make them more comfortable.
5) Nurse-midwives continue to struggle for the acceptance and autonomy needed to practice their profession.

The study findings were released in a press conference Monday in Washington,D.C. and media coverage of the findings is nationwide. Most major newspapers have run stories besides coverage on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and NPR.

Public Citizen's recommendations include reviewing state laws and regulations governing the practice of nurse-midwifery to determine their impact on the provision of nurse-midwifery services, creating more opportunities for the education of nurse-midwives, and implementing a sustained public information campaign on the quality, cost-effectiveness, and client satisfaction ratings of nurse-midwives. Dr. Phil Lee, Assistant Secretary of the Department ofHealth and Human Services assured conference attendees that he would be working closely with nurse-midwives to ensure that the barriers to their practice are removed.

The study consists of a 253-page Consumer Guide and 63-page policy makers report. Both publications are available for $15 each and available fromPublic Citizen.

Public Citizen Customer Service
Attn: Midwives'Reports
1600 20th Street, NW. Washington, DC 20009, USA

An order form and a repeat of much of this information is also available from the ACNM Fax onDemand service at: 202-728-9898, documents 5501 and 5502.

For more information on locating nurse-midwifery practices in the U.S., send your postal address and area where you would like to find a CNM or call: 202-728-9860.

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