Two bills to increase access to midwifery care pass in Virginia US

on 06 April 2021

Two bills in the US Commonwealth of Virginia have been passed, increasing access to midwifery care for women within the state.

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) advocated for the state to recognise Certified Midwives so that they could practice to their full extent of their education and training, and to be regulated without physician control.

Virginia is now the eighth state to recognise Certified Midwives, joining Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Rhode Island.

By recognising Certified Midwives, women will have increased access to maternity care which aims to improve the outcomes of women and their babies.

Virginia Affiliate President Katie Page, CNM, FACNM, who was involved in campaigning for the bills to be passed, said: “With maternal health care deserts throughout the Commonwealth, we need to address care in underserved areas with initiatives that remove barriers to practice unrelated to health and safety. Greater access to maternal healthcare is essential in reducing disparities in maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, and stark racial and class inequities in maternal healthcare access.”

The Certified Midwife credential was first developed in 1994, with the first Certified Midwife licenced in 1997. To be a Certified Midwife in the US, you need a degree in midwifery accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) and board certification through the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).

The difference between a Certified Midwife and Certified Nurse Midwife is that Certified Midwives are not also licensed as midwives. However, both meet the same core competencies, sit for the same board exam and have similar scopes of practice.

ACNM President Cathy Collins-Fulea, DNP, CNM, FACNM said: “Ensuring midwives are represented at every table is key to mainstreaming midwifery in the United States. We look forward to continuing our work to improve care and reduce inequalities in maternal healthcare.”

ACNM currently has 6,500 members and represents both Certified Midwives and Certified Nurse Midwives in the United States.