Friday, May 28, 2010

A Memorial Day Tribute to Women

As we gear up to celebrate Memorial Day, The National Women’s History Museum is urging us to remember the contributions women have made to this national holiday. Watch their mini-documentary to learn how women shaped the holiday and the nation. ACNM is a member of the National Women’s History Museum Coalition, comprised of women’s and girls’ organizations representing over 8.5 million members.

Friday, May 21, 2010

MN Passes Bill to License Birth Centers, Save Midwives from Reduced Payments

by Brielle Stoyke, CNM

The efforts of midwives across the US who lobbied their federal
legislators for fair reimbursement of midwifery services has paid off big in Minnesota.

This year, a group of midwives worked on birth center licensure legislation – we wanted a basic bill to license birth centers in our state. Two birth centers opened in February, and at least two more are in the works. The Senate author for the bill was inspired by the birth center model of care AND the cost savings for the state’s bottom financial line. Our intention was just licensure, but because it included fiscal savings, the bill became a bit more complicated. The bill went through dozens of hearings, and was held onto (or held up) until the final moments of the legislative session, so that it could serve as a potential vehicle to carry all the other health care bills. In the end, it was not used as a vehicle, but because it was held until the last minute, it had the chance of either passing or NOT. Scary.

To thicken the plot, there was a cost-cutting proposal in MN to “rebase” all provider fees to match Medicare. We did not find out about this until seven days before the end of the session. Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) in MN are currently paid at 100% of what physicians receive for their services under Medicaid, and we would have been brought down to the 65% Medicare rate. But, because of the new federal health care reform law that will raise Medicare reimbursement for CNMs to 100% beginning in January 2011, we were able to persuasively argue that imposing a 35% reimbursement cut would be unfair and contrary to the intent of federal policy. In the process of working with legislators and lobbyists, we were able to whip up an amendment to exempt CNMs from the Medicare rebasing! On the last day of the session, both our amendment and the birth center bill were passed by both houses, and the bill now awaits consideration by the Governor. We have our fingers crossed that the bill will soon become law. For the hard work it took to get this far, special thanks go to the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC), MN midwives, as well as midwives and their supporters across the US.

Bonus Video: Scroll to 2:35:00 to watch the MN House pass the birth center bill.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Saturday Night at the Movies: One Night, Three Films!

by Melissa Garvey, ACNM Writer and Editor

Back by popular demand, ACNM’s former Tuesday Night at the Movies is moving up to prime time on Saturday, June 12, 8- 10:30pm. Feel free to invite your friends, colleagues, and clients to this FREE film festival featuring birth and pregnancy-related movies. This year, we’ll be showing:

Natural Born Babies: A Modern Birth Story
Told by 10 mothers, this short film chronicles their journeys to challenge the conventional hospital birth model by giving birth in their own way. Lorrie Walker, CNM, owner and director of South Coast Midwifery & Women’s Health Care in Orange County, CA, also shares her insights and wisdom in overcoming the medical model of birth. Get a glimpse of the film here.

Making Mothers
Produced by the Family Health and Birth Center in northeast DC, this short documentary captures the lives of two African American caregivers who help women during the transition to motherhood. Certified nurse-midwife Lisa strives to provide the peaceful and beautiful home birth experience she had herself. Joan, a breastfeeding peer counselor, shares her experience as a teen mom and former birth center client. In pursuing their passion, Lisa and Joan empower the women they encounter and the community they work in. Watch the trailer here.

Washington (State) Correction Center for Women has created a unique program that allows minimum-security inmate mothers the opportunity to live with their babies in a designated unit. This documentary shows an intimate portrait of five inmate mothers and their infants. It explores the struggles of raising a child in an institution, the challenges the women face as they prepare to re-enter the community, and the joy they experience as the bond develops with their infants.

We’ll also be showing the winning submissions from the Third Annual ACNM Video Contest. See you there!

Register for the ACNM 55th Annual Meeting June 12 – 16 in Washington, DC

View more social activities

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fun Facts for “The Pill’s” Golden Anniversary

by Melissa Garvey, ACNM Writer and Editor

On Mother’s Day, May 9, “the pill” (a.k.a. oral contraceptives) turned 50. Leading up to the big day, numerous journalists outlined the history and evolution of the pill. Articles popped up in Time, The Wall Street Journal, and US News and World Report. However, one critical piece of information was missing from the slew of otherwise well-researched stories—obtaining a prescription for the pill does not require a visit to a physician. Many other qualified health care professionals, including certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives, can counsel women as well as prescribe and administer the form of birth control that is best for her body and her needs. Here are five more facts you may also appreciate about the pill:
  1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the pill (Enovid) in 1957 for menstrual disorders. (It was approved for contraceptive use in 1960.)

  2. The pill was not available to married women in all states until 1965. Unmarried women gained access to the pill in all states in 1972.

  3. The pill was the first medication mandated to include patient package inserts, explaining its possible side effects and risks to help facilitate informed consent. (Source: Susan Wood, director of the Jacob’s Institute of Women’s Health, as seen in the following video.)

  4. Today's standard dose oral contraceptives contain an estrogen dose that is one third lower than the first marketed oral contraceptive.

  5. More than 100 million women worldwide and almost 12 million women in the United States use the pill.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Get Ready to Party Like a Midwife

by Melissa Garvey, ACNM Writer and Editor

If you love your profession or your midwife, 24-hours worth of opportunities to celebrate are coming up. Wednesday, May 5, is International Day of the Midwife—a fabulous opportunity to celebrate midwifery and raise awareness of the importance of their work. Thanks to innovators like midwife Sarah Stewart, midwives and their supporters around the world are preparing to party all day long via a 24-hour virtual celebration. Here’s a sampling of what’s on tap from the full schedule of IDM2010 events.

Global Midwives and Mothers Photography Contest
Tonight 8pm EST, via Flickr
Maternova is hosting a “Global Midwives and Mothers” photography contest ending at midnight GMT. Post your photos of midwives and mothers from around the world in this Flickr account. If you'd prefer not to join Flickr, send the photos to them directly with country, photographer, and a few lines of text.

The Feminist Breeder Radiopodcast
May 5, 1pm EST, via Blog Talk Radio
Join The Feminist Breeder for an IDM celebratory broadcast, featuring Science and Sensibility’s Amy Romano, Mayo Clinic’s Mary Murry, and RHRealityCheck’s Amie Newman. Join the radio podcast here. Register to see all three bloggers in Washington, DC, June 14 at 2:15 pm here.

Twitter Conversation
May 5, 1pm EST, via Twitter
Join Tania Jones to talk about midwifery on Twitter. To participate in the conversation, include the tag #IDM2010 in your tweets (aka messages). New to Twitter? Watch this how-to video to get started.

Project Presentations from the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing (FSMFN)
May 5, 4pm EST, via Elluminate
Join an FSMFN student and the Midwifery Department chair in the Elluminate meeting room for two unique project presentations. Explore “Teaching Holistic Pain Control in Pregnancy” and “Why Applicants Choose Nurse-Midwifery as a Career.”

Drop-in Session for Student Midwives
May 5, 6pm EST, via Elluminate
Also in the Elluminate meeting room, come and meet other student midwives from around the world and be an active part of a new generation of midwives.

Midwifery in North Carolina and the USA
May 5, 7pm EST, via Second Life
Learn about midwifery in North Carolina and the USA with Monica Newby, CNM, in Second Life. New to Second Life? Learn more about this virtual world and its relevance to midwifery here.