15 Midwife Practices You Didn't Know Are Illegal In Your State

From time to time, there have been stories about women giving birth all by themselves in places like a bathroom. Those stories are very much the exception and not the rule, and despite those tales, the job of giving birth to a baby usually requires at least one other person besides the mother. Nowadays, modern medicine is usually used to deliver a baby. However, the thing about modern is that it is, well, modern. It has not been around forever.

Before modern medicine, birth was usually assisted by midwives.

Midwives have been around so long that prostitution may very well be the only profession that precedes it. Fortunately, using a  midwife is still very much an option women are choosing these days. They practice all over the country. That is not to say that midwives have free range to do whatever they want. It's far from that. A person might actually be surprised by all the restrictions midwives have in different states. The hard truth is that there are at least 15 practices by midwives that are illegal in certain states.

15 New Jersey: Home Birth After C-Section

Whenever anyone thinks of midwives, there is a good chance they think of women giving birth at home. That only makes sense, since midwives are pretty much defined as not being hospital workers. However , it seems that in the eyes of the law, not all home births are equal. At least they are not in the state of New Jersey.

According to New Jersey law, a midwife may attend a home birth for a woman who is birthing vaginally. Somewhat strangely however, they may not attend the vaginal birth for any woman who had a C-section in the past. It may seem like an odd distinction, but that is the law in New Jersey. That means any midwife in New Jersey who assumes she can attend any home birth would be wrong.

14 Iowa And North Carolina: Attending Home Births

One might be tempted to assume that a midwife is any woman who knows about birthing babies and not much more than that. That is far from the case, however. Not all midwives are the same. There is a more specialized form of midwife known as a certified nurse-midwife.

It turns out that there are some things that only a certified nurse-midwife can do. For example, only a certified nurse-midwife can attend a home birth in Iowa. That is also the case for midwives working in the state of North Carolina. So people wanting to be midwives in those two states should consider getting their nursing degree and then specialize in midwifery. Being certified as a nurse-midwife allows one to practice as a midwife anywhere in the US.

13 California: Practicing Without Physician Supervision

Another assumption that some may have of midwives is that they have nothing to do with doctors. After all, a midwife is what a woman wants to use instead of a doctor in a great many cases. Nevertheless, many midwives associate themselves with a doctor on their own accord and have more to do with doctors than a person might think. That is certainly the case in California.

A midwife in California can practice only under the supervision of a doctor. That means that in California a midwife can do anything only if a doctor is there. This may seem a little odd, but there is probably a good reason for it. It is likely a safety precaution in case something happens to the mom during labor that is beyond a midwife's capabilities.

12 Texas: Providing Certain Drugs 

There is one thing that is for certain when it comes to midwives, but it is worth mentioning. That thing is that midwives are not doctors, and don’t have the same level of knowledge a doctor does. As such, midwives do not have the ability to do certain things that doctors can. Most believe that doctors are the only people who can prescribe medication. However, in some cases, midwives are allowed to do this.

In several states, midwives can prescribe medication, although with limitations. In the state of Texas, for example, midwives cannot provide certain kinds of drugs. Those drugs include oxytocin or ergot. In the states where midwives are allowed to prescribe drugs, they are mostly limited to drugs that can assist with pregnancy and delivery. Any midwife prescribing addictive drugs will most likely be breaking the law and end up in jail.

11 California: Not Giving Control Over To A Doctor

Yes, midwives are not doctors. That simple truth may be the single greatest drawback to using a midwife in the first place. If something was to happen while a woman was giving birth, the odds are she would want a doctor there rather than a midwife. Doctors are far better equipped to handle medical emergencies than midwives are.

It is probably for that reason that there is a law in California that a midwife must hand over control of the situation whenever something goes wrong during delivery. This law seems to allow women in California to have their cake and eat it, too. Women can have the benefit of a midwife, but they can also have the expertise of a doctor in case of an emergency. It is the best of both worlds.

10 Alaska: Not Going To Hospital With Patient

If a woman chooses to have a midwife, it stands to reason she does not intend to spend time in a hospital. Nevertheless, there is always a chance that things will not go according to plan. Something could always go wrong with the delivery. If that is to happen, a woman would need to go to the hospital even if she did not intend to.

Of course, if a woman needs to go to the hospital in case of an emergency, her midwife should accompany her. That is only common courtesy and simply makes sense that she would stay with her patient. In one state, it is not just courtesy, it is the law. In Alaska, a midwife must accompany her patient to the hospital if ever she has to go there. It is necessary that the doctor on call get information on how the labor progressed and what measures the midwife took.

9 New York: Writing Prescriptions For Men

Midwives are primarily in the service of women. That will remain true until science somehow comes up with a Frankenstein-like way for men to get pregnant. However, it has already been established that midwives have the power to prescribe medications in some circumstances.

This might cause some to wonder if midwives are are able to prescribe medication for men -- the father of the baby, for example. They actually cannot do this, at least not in New York. A New York law states that a midwife cannot prescribe anything for men. Of course, one has to wonder just what a man would want to have prescribed by a midwife, but it could be that he might need a prescription to keep him calm while his wife gives birth!

8 California: Keeping Poor Records

Some midwives may view themselves as essentially being outside the medical profession. They may think they do not have all the restrictions of someone in the medical professional like a nurse. One thing a nurse or any medical professional must do is keep good records. If any midwife thinks that she is not held to that same standard she is wrong, at least in California.

That is because in California a midwife must keep good medical records just as a nurse or doctor would have to do. This makes a great deal of sense. There will always be a need for good records whenever a medical procedure takes place. That certainly includes the birth of a baby.

7 Texas: Putting Pressure On Laboring Mom's Abdomen

If there is one thing a midwife can be counted on to do, it is helping during a woman's labor. That is pretty much their primary function. They are there instead of a doctor to deliver the baby. For that reason, it may come as a surprise that there are some things a midwife is not permitted to do while a woman is in labor.

A good example of this is a restriction in Texas. In the state of Texas a midwife cannot apply pressure to a woman's abdomen while she is in labor. This is probably another restriction that is in place for safety reasons. It is good to keep in mind that midwives are not doctors, and a midwife cannot be expected to do everything a doctor does.

6 California: Breaching Confidentiality

Yet another staple of the medical profession is that all patient information must be kept strictly confidential. Most people realize that. Midwives might not give that all that much thought because they are not doctors. However, if they work in California they really should. It happens to be a law there.

In California, midwives have to keep all patient information confidential. That means that, just like a doctor, they cannot tell others anything about their patients. This is actually very important. Some may think that since they are not in an office, the relations between midwife and patient are less formal and more like a friendship. However, all midwives need to be aware that the same rule applies to them even though they may not think of themselves as being part of the medical profession.

5 Alaska: Lacking Clinical Experience

It has been established that midwives might not be considered part of the official medical profession. One might assume, then, that a midwife might not need any medical experience to do what she does. However, that is not the case in at least one state. In Alaska, a law requires all midwives to have clinical experience before they can assist with any births.

That makes sense, considering that a delivery is essentially a medical procedure. It is probably for the best that a midwife has some clinical experience before engaging in such a task. That way it is clear that she knows what she is doing. Any mother would likely find that comforting while she is giving birth. With some women living hours from a hospital, it is best that a midwife have experience with helping mom birth.

4 New York: Not Having A Master's Degree

Midwives have been around for a really long time. They pretty much predate doctors. Since it is such an old profession, it is not hard to imagine that just about anyone can do it. That is to say, it probably does not require much training or school beyond having aided in a few births.

That may have been true at one point, but that is far from the case now, especially in New York. By law, all midwives practicing in that state have to have a master's degree. That is right, they do not have to just have a degree but a master's degree at that. That means it takes a pretty significant amount of education to be a midwife in New York. It stands to reason that the more education a midwife has, the more knowledgeable she will be about the process of pregnancy and birth.

3 No Midwives In Alabama: Until Recently

Midwives have been around for a very long time, and they practice legally all over the country. Nevertheless, a midwife would be dead wrong if she assumes she can practice anywhere. A good example is that of Alabama. A midwife could not legally practice in that state until recently. This actually seems to go against common sense for many communities, but it has been the law.

More specifically, a midwife could not practice in Alabama until this year. So any midwife doing her thing in Alabama prior to a few months ago was simply breaking the law. Making midwives legal in Alabama was considered a big win by the midwife community all over the country. We’re sure it is also a win for mothers who don’t wish to have their child in a hospital.

2 New York: Not Keeping Records For Six Years

A person's medical records are extremely important. They hold a person's medical history, after all. A midwife has to keep good records; that has already been noted. However, a midwife should not make the mistake of thinking that once baby and mother are doing well after the birth, the records no longer have value. But, medical records must be saved, much like a person’s income tax records.

In New York, a midwife is required to keep her records for 6 long years. This can be for their own benefit in the case something is wrong with the child and the parents want to blame the midwife. Unfortunately, we live in a world where lawsuits are rampant. In addition, the mother may have a question about something, or be ready to hire the midwife again.

1 Can't Be A Midwife In Nearly Half The Country

Yes, midwives can now practice in Alabama. However, Alabama was hardly the only place where midwives could not work in this country. It is actually illegal to be a midwife in nearly half the country. A midwife cannot legally practice in 23 states in America. Georgia and Hawaii are just a couple of the states where a woman cannot be a midwife.

If a midwife was to practice in any state where it is illegal, she could be arrested for practicing medicine without a license. It is important to point out that it is legal to practice as a certified nurse-midwife anywhere in the country. However, they are nurses in addition to being midwives and usually work in hospitals.

Sources: VBACFacts.com, TDLR.Texas.gov, MBC.ca.gov, commerce.alaska.gov, op.nysed.gov

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