Innovation and Support for Midwifery: This Week and Always

Those familiar with Childbirth Connection may already know about our recent reports and resources that address midwifery care, like our evidence-based web site topic on Choosing a Caregiver, our Milbank Report on evidence-based maternity care calling out midwifery care as an underused intervention “suitable for routine use,” and our Transforming Maternity Care Blueprint for Action that calls for increased use of midwives and family practice physicians.

But did you know about our long history of innovation and support for midwifery, dating back 93 years to the dawn of professional midwifery in the United States? In celebration of National Midwifery Week, we want to share just a handful of the milestones in the history of U.S. midwifery and of our organization.  You can find a complete timeline of our work in our publication, 90 Years, Baby! (pdf).


Founded Maternity Center Association (MCA) in New York City to conduct a demonstration project providing prenatal and postpartum care and education to underserved women and babies


Established and operated 30 neighborhood maternity centers, which provided high quality care and education that significantly reduced maternal and infant death


Established the first U.S. school of nurse-midwifery in New York City


Supported establishment of American College of Nurse-Midwifery, known today as American College of Nurse-Midwives


Established first nurse-midwifery program at major municipal hospital, with move of MCA’s midwifery school to Kings County Hospital, in a joint program with State University of New York


Received Commonwealth Fund grant to increase access to nurse-midwifery care in the U.S. through refresher programs and scholarships to help midwives update skills and become certified


Established The Childbearing Center in New York City to demonstrate the safety and satisfaction of out-of-hospital family-centered maternity care, obtained New York State Department of Health approval, and operated it through June 1996


Established the National Association of Childbearing Centers, a professional association for out-of-hospital birth centers now known as American Association of Birth Centers


Established the Commission for the Accreditation of Freestanding Birth Centers to ensure high standards of operation for out-of-hospital birth centers across the U.S.


Opened the Childbearing Center of Morris Heights, a neighborhood-based birth center in the South Bronx serving low-income families


Disseminated results of the National Birth Center Study of outcomes of care in 84 out-of-hospital birth centers, which was published in the new England Journal of Medicine; study concluded that care in birth centers was safe, satisfying, and cost effective


Held 75th Anniversary seminar on mainstreaming the out-of-hospital birth center and published proceedings


Held national conference, Models of Collaborative Practice: Preparing for Maternity Care in the 21st Century and published proceedings in Women’s Health Issues


Established the Hazel Corbin/Childbirth Connection Grant for Evidence-Based Midwifery Practice in partnership with the ACNM Foundation


Partnered with the American College of Nurse-Midwives on the “Research and Education to Decrease Unnecessary Cesareans/REDUCE” Campaign


Together with the Milbank Memorial Fund and Reforming States Group, released major report: Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What it Can Achieve, drawing major national attention to the underuse of certified nurse-midwives, certified midwives, and certified professional midwives in the United States maternity care system


Completed multi-year, multi-stakeholder Transforming Maternity Care Project providing sector-specific recommendations and strategies to increase the midwifery workforce, ensure midwives are adequately trained and supported, provide adequate reimbursement, align reimbursement with optimal midwifery care; and enhance collaboration across all maternity care providers and settings, among other focal areas

Today and beyond

As we continue to work to implement the Transforming Maternity Care Blueprint for Action, Carol, Amy, and I continue our organization’s history of working toward a system that integrates midwifery knowledge and services, with the ultimate goal of improving the health of women, babies, and families.  Midwives provide high-quality, high-value maternity care and have an important role in improving our maternity care system. To all of the midwives reading, the health professionals who collaborate with midwives, and the women and families midwives care for, Happy Midwifery Week!

Filed in Blog, Childbirth Connection, Clinicians on Tue., Oct 4, 2011

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One Response to “Innovation and Support for Midwifery: This Week and Always”

  1. Rachel Grencavich, CNM says:

    Proud to be a midwife!!!