Birth Stories

Massachusetts Midwives Alliance (MMA) and Massachusetts Friends of Midwives (MFOM)
Fact Sheet: An Act Relative to Certified Professional Midwives
HB 2008 and SB 1081
Lead Sponsors: Rep. Kay Khan and Sen. Richard Moore

The Purpose of the Bill The bill would require all midwives practicing in out-of-hospital settingswho are not already licensed to become Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs). It also creates state licensing requirements for all CPMs and establishes a Committee on Midwifery under the Board of Registration in Medicine.  This Committee will issue all CPM licenses and will have regulatory oversight for all Massachusetts-based CPMs.

Current Law  At present, the Commonwealth regulates only Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs). There is no state oversight of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs), who provide out-of-hospital care to approximately 500 women and their families across the state each calendar year, a number that is growing annually. CPMs are authorized to practice in 27 states, with legislation currently pending in 10 more.

Why This Bill Is Needed   A 2012 CDC report found that between the years 2004 and 2009 the number of home births in the U.S. rose 29%. In Massachusetts home births grew by 34% over the same period. This bill helps ensure accountability and a consistent high standard of practice for all midwives in Massachusetts.  The bill will help make available the full range of midwifery care and access as defined by the World Health Organization by improving the ability of families across the Commonwealth to safely take advantage of their right to choose the type and location of their maternity care. 

Legislative History The bills have been referred to the Jt. Committee on Public Health and are awaiting a Public Hearing. In the previous 2011-2012 session, the originally filed bills (HB 2368 and SB 1133) were voted favorably out of the Joint Committee on Public Health and the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, where redrafted as HB 4253. The bill ended the 2011-2012 Session in the House Ways & Means Committee. A version of the bill was previously passed twice by the Senate (2005-2006 and 2007-2008 sessions).

Proven Results, Reduced Costs A 2005 study in the British Medical Journal shows that low-risk women who gave birth under the care of Certified Professional Midwives had outcomes equal to those of low-risk women who gave birth in the hospital, but with far fewer costly interventions, including a rate of cesarean surgeries one-fifth that of comparable women.  In addition, babies born to women under the care of CPMs experience significantly lower rates of preterm birth and low birth weight, two of the primary contributing factors to the high costs associated with long-term care.

Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) Are Experts in Out-of-Hospital Maternity Care CPMs are the only midwives in the United States required to undergo specialized clinical training in the provision of out-of-hospital maternity care. The CPM credential is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the same agency that accredits the certification for nurse practitioners and nurse midwives. There are approximately 2,000 CPMs in the United States, with a growth trend of 10% per annum.

What This Bill Does NOT Do:

  • Give CPMs prescriptive authority;
  • Mandate insurance reimbursement for CPMs

For more information, please call any of the following:
 Miriam Khalsa (Mass Midwives Alliance) 508-655-7885 (akmidwife@gmail.com)
Audra Karp (Mass Midwives Alliance) 617-522-8383 (audrakarp@gmail.com)
Ann Sweeney (Mass Friends of Midwives) 617-254-6175/617-901-2777 (ann@annsweeney.com)
Krina Patel (The Suffolk Group) 617-303-4570 (kpatel@thesuffolkgroup.com)

Home Contact Donate Blog Links Birth Stories