The first full week of October is observed as National Midwifery Week. This year, midwives across the country will be recognized and celebrated October 3-9.
National Midwifery Week was created by the American College of Nurse-Midwives to celebrate and recognize midwives and midwife-led care, and DHEC is participating in the observance. The agency licenses midwives in South Carolina.
There are currently 38 Licensed Midwives and nine Midwife Apprentices in the state, and they can be located using DHEC’s Find a Facility or Service map.
This year’s theme for National Midwifery Week is Midwives for Every Community.
“Midwives continue to provide low-risk mothers with a choice to birth their way naturally supported by loved ones,” said Charlene Bell, DHEC Director of the Division of Hospitals and Professionals in the Bureau of Healthcare Systems and Services.
Lori Gibson is one of the 38 licensed Midwives in the state.
“A home birth midwife is given an opportunity to build a strong foundation and bond with pregnant and birthing families,” she said. “Families seek out midwifery care for this time and become comfortable in knowing who will support, educate, and advocate for them as they are bringing forth new life.”
“We work together with complimentary professionals such as chiropractors, physicians, lactation consultants, and massage therapists to build a caring team as they prepare for the birth,” Lori said.
She expressed gratitude for the state’s recognition of midwives.
“South Carolina was the first state to license and regulate midwives in 1976 and is one of 36 states who licenses certified professional midwives,” Lori said.
Holly Barber, of DHEC’s Division of Hospitals and Professionals, quoted childbirth and pregnancy author Sheila Kitzinger.
“In all cultures, the midwife’s place is on the threshold of life, where intense human emotions, fear, hope, longing, triumph, and incredible physical power-enable a new human being to emerge. Her vocation is unique.”
Did you know:
- DHEC licenses midwives in accordance with Regulation 61-24, Standards for Licensing Midwives. Individuals must obtain a certification from the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). License renewal is every two years with continuing education required.
- Licensed midwives provide collaborative prenatal care primary assistance in the birth process, initial care of the newborn, postpartum care of the mother, and follow-up on both.
- A midwife apprentice license authorizes the person to obtain the required clinical experience under the supervision of a physician, certified nurse-midwife, or licensed midwife.
- Should there be deviations from a normal, low-risk pregnancy or delivery, the licensed midwife consults a qualified physician and makes an appropriate referral.