Monday, October 26, 2009

Safe Motherhood Quilt Project in Sarasota This Week

Beginning today, three panels of The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project are on display at the Selby Public Library. The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project is a national effort developed to draw public attention to the current maternal death rates in the United States, as well as to the gross underreporting of maternal deaths, and to honor women who have died of pregnancy-related causes. The three panels currently on display in Sarasota represent 58 mothers who have died of pregnancy or childbirth related causes in the US since 1982. There are several other panels throughout the country just like them.

Project founder and world's leading midwife Ina May Gaskin will be presenting these panels on Saturday, October 31st, at 11:00 am. Following her presentation she will sign copies of all three of her books (Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, and Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding), in benefit for Florida Friends of Midwives and The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

News from the MAMA Campaign

Florida Friends of Midwives endorses the MAMA Campaign. Please read this update, including an incredible list of accomplishments in just a few short months.

What a summer this has been for Midwives and Mothers in Washington, DC! Now, as the health care bills pick up speed in Congress this fall, we need your support and your dollars more than ever. Billy Wynne, our lobbyist, wrote to us this past week: “You should feel very good about the massive education campaign you’ve undertaken and the broad support you’ve gained …now it’s crunch time!”

Just since May, the MAMA Campaign has accomplished a lot by acting quickly and effectively.
We have:

  • Drafted an amendment to recognize and reimburse CPMs in Medicaid
  • Hired a national health policy and lobbying firm to guide our advocacy work in DC
  • Held a “fly-in” of more than twenty MAMA activists to Washington, DC, in June who met with over 30 key congress members
  • Traveled to DC nearly every week since then and followed up with supporters to keep the pressure up
  • Prepared a cost-analysis based on Medicaid data from a health policy study in Washington State that was submitted to the Congressional Budget Office on our behalf by Chairman Waxman’s office
  • Met with 8 top Medicaid officials in Baltimore in July, an unusual opportunity for a provider group new to Capitol Hill
  • Monitored and adjusted our strategy weekly as the proposed legislation twists and turns through Congress
  • Secured the support of important national groups: Childbirth Connection, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Women’s Health Network, Raising Women’s Voices, Our Bodies Ourselves, the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services, American Association of Birth Centers, and state midwifery and consumer groups
And we have continued to manage the campaign using the pro-bono skills and expertise of top leadership in six national midwifery and citizen organizations as well as activated superb grassroots support across the country.

Over these next weeks we will continue to have opportunities to include Certified Professional Midwives in the health care bills. However, the time is growing short and we really need your help. As Billy says, it’s crunch time!

Every step of the way you have stood behind us. Thank you! Together we have raised $100,000 for the Campaign this summer – 2/3 of our goal and a truly stunning fundraising coup for our movement! We are so grateful to you!!

Now we need your help to get across the finish line!
Will you give $10, $25, $50 or even $100 to continue our work for federal recognition of CPMs? Just click to donate.

Will you help us identify potential major donors? Write to with ideas.

And of course, be sure to keep the letters to your legislators coming – we need that “dull roar” from the states and districts to move our provision over the top! Constituents are the ones that legislators are listening to. That’s you! Find letter templates and instructions on our website.

Thank you so much! We look for to hearing from you!

Mary Lawlor, CPM
President, NACPM
National Co-Chair, MAMA Campaign

Susan Hodges
President, Citizens for Midwifery
National Co-Chair, MAMA Campaign

Florida Celebrates Licensed Midwives Week October 5-9

Governor Charlie Crist has signed a proclamation observing October 5 through the 9 as Licensed Midwives Week in the State of Florida, upholding midwives for being “dedicated to the care of pregnancy and childbirth and treat[ing] each woman’s pregnancy according to her unique physical and personal needs.” Governor Crist’s proclamation also recognized midwives for their role in the need to “improve birth outcomes in the State of Florida and ensure that women are given proper care and treatment in all phases of childbirth.”

In honor of this week, Florida Friends of Midwives (FFOM), a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the practice of midwifery in Florida, will be hosting various community events throughout the state this month to celebrate the more than 110 Licensed Midwives in the Sunshine State.

Florida Licensed Midwives Week coincides with National Midwifery Week, a time to recognize the contributions of Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), Certified Midwives (CMs) and Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) nationwide. The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) publicly announced the week with an introduction to midwifery. “The heart of midwifery care for women and newborns lies more in the nature of that care than in its specific components. Midwifery practice has a firm foundation in the critical thought process and is focused on the prevention of disease and the promotion of health, taking the best from the disciplines of midwifery, nursing, public health and medicine to provide safe, holistic care.”

Midwives have a long and valued history in Florida. The state first passed legislation to license direct-entry midwives in 1931. In the 77 years since, Florida’s licensed midwives have continued to tirelessly serve the families of Florida and to ensure the continued availability of safe, evidence-based birthing options for Florida’s families. In 1992, Governor Lawton Chiles declared the first-ever Licensed Midwives Week. More women than ever before are seeking out licensed midwives for maternity care. According to the latest data from the Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery, births managed by Licensed Midwives in the state grew by about 5.5% from 2005 to 2006.

“We are honored every day to serve Florida’s mothers, babies, and families,” says Sarasota Licensed Midwife Alina Vogelhut, LM. “It means so much for our profession to be honored by Governor Charlie Crist and the State of Florida.”

Midwifery in Florida

In Florida, two types of midwives are allowed to practice: Certified Nurse-Midwives and Licensed Midwives (a Florida state licensure), also known as direct-entry midwives. Throughout the state, about 11.2 percent of births are estimated to be managed by midwives, rather than by OB-GYNs. Many birth centers and midwives have reported a significant increase in business in the past year. This increase is believed to be a result of various factors, primarily a greater number of women seeking alternative birthing choices due to an unhealthy increase in caesarean sections and other unnecessary interventions that frequently occur in hospital settings. In a 2006 report on Florida Licensed Midwives, midwives had a caesarean section rate of 6.3 percent compared to a 36.64 percent statewide average in hospitals the same year.

For more information of midwifery in Florida, please visit

About Florida Friends of Midwives

Florida Friends of Midwives is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the Midwives Model of Care and supporting the practice of midwifery in Florida. Florida Friends of Midwives was formed to support midwives who offer safe, cost-effective, evidence based care to Florida's families. For more information, please visit

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Announcing: Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery

(from Executive Director Jennie Joseph, LM, CPM)

Thank you for your interest in Florida's newly licensed direct-entry midwifery program. I am proud to offer the Three-year Midwifery Program and the Four Month Pre-licensure Program for foreign-trained midwives only (midwives licensed/certified in another country).

Both programs will lead to a Diploma in Midwifery and, after passing the NARM (North American Registry of Midwives) exam, an opportunity to become a Florida Licensed Midwife (LM) affording practice in Florida under Chapter 467 FS and the ability to provide prenatal. labor and delivery and postpartum services for Florida families. Candidates may also apply for the nationally accredited credential Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) after passing the NARM.

I am excited to be able to direct a midwifery school (for the second time) and look forward to bringing a unique approach to midwifery education.My focus will be on the clinical aspects of midwifery training and I will apply my international and individual experiences to a very strong and clinically sound format.

I welcome the renowned Justine Clegg MS, LM, CPM as our Academic Director. Justine is a Florida Licensed Midwife and Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Involved in maternal and child health since 1973 as a La Leche League leader, childbirth educator, founding member of the Midwives Association of Florida, homebirth midwife and political activist, she earned her M.S. in counseling in 1991 and has served as Director of the Midwifery Program at Miami Dade College since 1994. She was a founding Board member of MEAC (Midwifery Education Accreditation Council) and helped develop the NARM (North American Registry of Midwives) certification process, as well as being the current Board Secretary of the Association of Midwifery Educators. She will join me in presenting an academic program crafted to produce confident, accomplished midwives, ready and able to serve their community with heart and passion.

As we begin classes in January 2010 we will be operating under the initial Provisional License # 4052 as issued by Florida Department of Education. Please note: we have been informed that we cannot start the 'distance learning' component of our program until we have completed the first year. At that time we will need to re-apply to the state of Florida for the ability to add 'distance learning'. After one year the state will issue our 'full' license. To that end we will proceed in January 2010 with an ON-SITE PROGRAM only.

Classes will be held on Fridays at 1150 E. Plant St. Winter Garden. I will only be seating a very small class initially with a view to expanding the following year. Tuition for the Three-year Program is $19,320 and $5,250 for the Four Month Program. Our upcoming Orientation is scheduled for October 9, 2009 at The Birth Place, Winter Garden. Please email for more details or to rsvp.

Thank you!

Jennie Joseph LM, CPM
Executive Director