Last Friday, the Alabama State Board of Midwifery voted to accept recommended changes from a legislative oversight committee to its proposed regulation to, among other things, set the scope of practice for non-nurse midwives. By accepting the changes, the newly-formed Midwife Board will begin to license non-nurse midwives. Had the Midwife Board turned down the recommendations, it would have had to start over entirely in its regulation-making process.
The recommendations came mostly from a proposal authored by the Medical Association and the health coalition to prohibit non-nurse midwives from practicing pediatrics and procuring, storing and using drugs. The legislative oversight committee added a requirement that, in the event a woman attempting to give birth at home with a non-nurse midwife transfers to a facility, the non-nurse midwife is required to accompany her client.
As well, the legislative oversight committee struck language in the Midwifery Board proposed regulation that would have limited the Midwife Board’s disciplinary “look back” period to only 18 months. No professional health licensure boards in Alabama have such a limited timeframe for “look back.”
While the Medical Association maintains there are inherent dangers associated with planned home birth, it supports the recommendations from the legislative oversight committee as being in the best interest of pregnant women and their babies.