Not sure how I feel about Maryland

I just read a press release from Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. First, how strange is that term . . . mental hygiene . . . MENTAL hygiene?

Anyway, on the one hand I am glad that steps are in place to give women access to home birth. And if physicians and CNMs will actually attend these home births, then it’s possible that insurance will cover these births. Hooray!

However, I don’t believe that a physician or CNM is necessary for a great outcome at home. A trained midwife, CPM or otherwise, should be just as capable of handing low and lower risk births at home.

Furthermore, many women who fall outside of the definition of low risk will have better birth experiences outside the confines of a hospital. Typically, physicians and CNMs are not able to provide homebirth services to these women and their babies. I don’t recommend limiting their ability to find qualified providers who will attend them at home. I hope this board will use better mental hygiene and reconsider their ban on lay midwifery.

Alliance Defense Fund Supports Homebirth

Maybe this is not news to some of the folks who visit my blog, but I was not aware of:

  • A Pennsylvania court case against a direct-entry midwife named Diane Goslin
  • That the ADF could be an important ally for those who support the patient’s right to choose care

Look at what the ADF says with regard to this case:

“Honoring one’s cultural or religious heritage by using a lay midwife to have a child at home is not a crime,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeff Shafer.  “The venerable practice of lay midwifery, which has a clear record of safety and is steeped in cultural and religious tradition, should not be banished as an option for Pennsylvania mothers.”

Evidently midwifery is allegal, not illegal but subject to prosecution, in Pennsylvania.  I am glad to see the ADF hailing lay midwifery as “venerable” with a “clear record of safety.”  They clearly recognize the need to preserve and protect viable options such as lay midwifery.

I have often thought about the spiritual side of childbirth.  Some Christians would say that since God has enabled mankind to develop technology, we should use it.  However, Christianity is about simplicity and directness.  Christians inherit more though they may “have” less.  I wonder if God doesn’t see the over-use of technology in physiological processes as frivolous.  This isn’t about needless subjection to pain, or the stain of sin, or any of that stuff.  This is about simplicity, direction, and belief.  I believe that God gave me a body that works.  My pregnancies may require intervention, but when they do not, I can’t imagine that technological/medical abuse & overuse would glorify God.  For me the overuse of these interventions run contrary to my Belief.

One verse that really speaks to me right now comes from Romans 4:

“[Abraham] was empowered by faith and gave glory to God & was fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to do.”

In spite of his old age and Sarah’s old womb, Abraham had faith that God would entrust many nations to his care.  Given the last 5 months of my life, I find this encouraging and empowering.