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Background

During the 2012 legislative session, HB1056 Midwives bill.pdf, Health Occupations – Licensed Midwives, was introduced. The bill hearing generated a great deal of public interest.  The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) recognizes that there is increased demand for providers who are licensed and able to safely attend births in the home, and believes that this multi-faceted issue should be studied.  Therefore, DHMH has formed a Midwives Workgroup comprised of interested health care providers and stakeholders.  The Workgroup will meet least four times over the next several months. A final report of the Workgroup’s findings and recommendations will be delivered to Delegate Peter A. Hammen, the Chair of the House, Health and Government Operations Committee and Senator Joan Carter Conway, the Chair of the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, by January 1, 2013.

The official charge of the Midwives Workgroup is to:

  1. Analyze the shortage of certified nurse midwives in Maryland, including barriers in training nurse midwives and barriers in nurse midwifery practice in hospitals and in non-hospital settings.
  2. Evaluate consumer concerns and motivations surrounding the birthing process, including the choice to pursue a home birth and concerns related to hospital births.
  3. Conduct a review of current legislation and regulations in other states concerning the licensing, educational requirements, and scope of practice of certified professional midwives; and
  4. Review available evidence regarding the safety and outcome of births attended by certified professional midwives, certified nurse midwives, and obstetricians, as well as the safety of home births compared to hospital births.

The Midwives Workgroup meetings are open to the public. All Workgroup materials and meeting minutes will be posted on the DHMH website after each meeting.