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An historic day for midwifery in the United States.

A great step forward for midwifery in this country occurred on June 9, 1991 when representatives from the Midwives Alliance of North America (MAN), the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) and the consumer representatives at the Interogranizational Workgroup on Midwifery unanimously agreed to and signed the definition of a "professional midwife" (see text on preceding page).

The most important part is that the wording appears to give equal recognition to midwives who meet the requirements of either organization (the two have agreed on a series of core competencies, so that if a midwife knows the material and has acquired the skills, it doesn't matter whether she has done this through attending a midwifery school or through self-study and apprenticeship).

MANA will be offering its registry exam at the annual conference in E1 Paso this October and at various locations in the future. This will help provide an agreed upon national standard which should support the efforts of midwives in the individual states.

The agreement recognizes the validity of both organizations, paving the way for the possibility of unity while recognizing the diversity that exists among midwives. By agreeing to the term "professional midwife," it still leaves the word "midwife" available (as it should be) for those women who choose not to undertake this certification and recognition procedure. While some midwives who consider themselves "traditional birth attendants" will still practice outside the bounds of this definition, the majority of non-nurse midwives will not, ipso facto, find themselves further out of the mainstream of American health care through this agreement. On the contrary, if we can maintain a strong presence and establish a strong lobby and cooperation with the ACNM, this agreement should help in the process of obtaining reimbursement of fees by insurance companies and medicaid.

Well done, sisters!
COPYRIGHT 1991 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Baldwin, Rahima
Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Sep 22, 1991
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