Midwives, doulas say they want their voices considered in ADPH’s birth center regulations

Proposed birthing center changes and impact
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 7:19 PM CDT
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GAINESVILLE, Ala. (WBRC) - The Alabama Department of Public Health is considering new rules for birthing centers in our state—and the proposed changes could impact your choice of where and who delivers your baby.

A Certified Professional Midwife, or CPM, we spoke to says if these regulations go into effect, rural communities will be disproportionately impacted.

That’s because maternity care options are already limited in these areas.

Dr. Stephanie Mitchell leads the Birth Sanctuary in Gainesville, Alabama and said ADPH did not consider midwives or doulas when proposing these new regulations.

ADPH wants to reinstate rules that existed before midwives and doulas were permitted to deliver babies in Alabama.

The proposed rules would exclude them from delivering babies in birthing centers and would require birthing centers to operate within 25 miles of a hospital with an operating obstetric unit.

Dr. Mitchell said not only will the proposed regulations put her at risk of losing her ability to provide maternal care but said it will also take away your choice for alternative birthing methods.

“This is my livelihood. This is everything that I am, that I always knew I was going to be. This is my pathway and it’s being threatened. And as a side result even though I am one provider, we’re not high volume, we’re not fast paced. We may have 12 or 24 births at the birth center a year, but this is my work. This is my work, and it effects those families who are unable to receive the care that they choose. So, we’re in very treacherous waters here,” Dr. Mitchell explained.

ADPH says it’s responsible for making sure medical facilities, like birthing centers, are licensed and regulated, and will take public comments until September 2.

It’s unclear when those rules could take effect.

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