Thursday, January 28, 2010

Quality of US Maternity Care on Track to Improve With or Without Legislation

by Melissa Garvey, ACNM Writer and Editor

As you may have already heard from ACNM Federal Lobbyist Patrick Cooney, health reform legislation has reached a startling, disappointing halt. We are not sure what this means for the numerous provisions that would increase access to midwifery and birth centers.

In the face of this development, I’d like to take time out to raise everyone’s spirits and highlight a few exciting initiatives that are moving full steam ahead, whether or not health reform legislation passes soon. Each initiative has the same mission as many of the Senate’s proposed health reform provisions: to improve the quality of maternity care for US women.
  1. The March of Dimes released a webcast edition of its Symposium on Quality Improvement to Prevent Prematurity, which ACNM cosponsored last October. Registration is free and gives you access to information from expert speakers, including ACNM President Melissa Avery and A.C.N.M. Foundation Secretary Nancy Jo Reedy.

  2. This week, the Joint Commission issued an alert on preventing maternal deaths during and after pregnancy. The alert points out that maternal mortality rates in the United States are not declining, and may be on the rise. Even more disturbing is that for every mother who dies from pregnancy-related causes, 50 more mothers will become very ill due to significant problems during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. This isn’t good news, but it does promote awareness and proposes steps toward improvement. Lamaze International has taken this opportunity to issue its own set of recommendations for preventing maternal deaths.

  3. Childbirth Connection has released findings from its 2009 Transforming Maternity Care Symposium. This was a major effort by numerous stakeholders in US maternity care, including ACNM, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), with the purpose of transforming US maternity care into a wellness, woman-centered model. Their vision document, blueprint for action, and more are now available. I suspect midwife Amy Romano, CNM, will weigh in with more commentary at Science and Sensibility soon.
These are just three initiatives among many in progress toward improving the quality of US maternity care. What other initiatives and projects are you keeping an eye on or participating in?


Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Melissa, just thinking - you should have a link here on your blog to Twitter.

Thanks for your comments on my blog - you are one of the few midwifery organizations to use social media - do you find it "works" - do people interact with you here or on Twitter? Is it "worth" the effort you put in to your social media presence?

cheers Sarah

Melissa Garvey said...

Great suggestion, Sarah! Social media is definitely working for us and has been well worth the effort so far. I wish we had even more time to devote to these communication channels. People interact with us the most on our Facebook page ( Twitter is a newer venture for us, but is coming along quite nicely.

Sarah Stewart said...

Just to let you know this blog and your Twitter account is being featured at

I have set up a Twitter account and Facebook account for the IDM2010 - I have far more followers on Facebook than I do Twitter...says something, doesn't it?!

Melissa Garvey said...

Thanks, Sarah! ACNM is following you on twitter. It's wonderful to see IDM (International Day of the Midwife for those who don't know) grown every year.

Kitty said...

Hi Mellisa,
Great newsletter! We MUST get all miwived on board as members if only to participate in these posts.
Surely if they did they would see only one of the mnay values of membership and how hard you are all working for them.