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Midwives and supporters of birth centers from all over the state had a fantastic meeting with the Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board on September 15, 2010. The Board is urging the Department of Health to update Missouri's birth center regulations, to help make birth centers more viable in Missouri. You can help! Here are simple instructions:

What makes a birth center special? A birth center is a place to experience healthy birth in a warm, home-like environment. It may be staffed by physicians, midwives, nurses, and other highly trained and specialized professionals.  The birth center environment encourages active participation by the birthing family, and cost-efficient, sensitive, evidenced-based health care.

Are there birth centers in Missouri? YES.  One free-standing birth center has just been launched in Kansas City. You can find more information  about A Mother's Love Birth Center at www.motherslovebirthcenter.com. Missouri's second birth center is in the final planning stages, set to open in the St Louis/St Charles area in early 2011. Birth and Wellness Center can be found at www.mybirthandwellness.com.

Are midwives legal in Missouri? YES. There are two basic types of midwives, Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM), and direct entry midwives, who may be nationally certified as professional midwives (CPM). CNMs are legal in every state, but are restricted in their practice by collaborative practice agreements with physicians (they cannot practice without a collaborating physician).  Physicians who are willing to collaborate with a CNM who attends out-of-hospital births are exceedingly rare in Missouri.  CPMs became legal in Missouri in 2008, through the tireless efforts of Friends of Missouri Midwives.  CPMs are independent providers, not required to have a written agreement with a physician.

What can I do to help? Join Friends of Missouri Birth Centers! Stay updated on developments in our state regarding birth centers and midwifery care by visiting this website often or signing up for our yahoo group.  Donate to FOMBC.  Spread the word about birth center care to your friends, family, legislators, insurance company, employer, and health care providers.

In a brief but informative article, the NY Times reports on the horrible record that the U.S. has compared to other countries. The authors comment on the link between our prematurity and infant mortality rates and unnecessary obstetric interventions such as early induction and cesarean. Check out our "research & articles" section to see how midwives and birth centers improve the health of our nation's youngest citizens!

Read the NY Times article here.

The efforts of families and birth centers to guarantee that every woman has access to care, and to keep birth centers financially viable, are being noticed. The Associated Press ran a great story Sept 28 on Karen Fennell and the lobbying she has done for the Medicaid Reimbursement Act supported by the American Association of BIrth Centers.

This would be a great story to forward to your senator. It includes the fact that the congressional budget office has reported that if Medicaid will reimburse birth centers for care they provide, those birth centers could save the government tens of millions every year.

Read the article here