Midwives in S.C. rally for equal hospital access for their mothers

Midwives in South Carolina are hoping legislators adopt a new bill that would give their mothers equal hospital access, should something go wrong with their home delivery. 

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — Midwives in South Carolina are hoping legislators adopt a new bill that would give their mothers equal hospital access, should something go wrong with their home delivery.

Three different midwife groups from around South Carolina were at the State House Thursday to bring attention to this issue.

“A midwife is a professional who takes care of low-risk moms and babies up to six weeks postpartum. They care throughout the pregnancy,” said Lori Gibson, S.C. Chairwoman of Midwifery Advisory Council to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

Midwives and mothers who have used midwives hope to raise awareness over a hospital regulation that doesn’t include them. A new bill was introduced to legislation on Thursday that would ensure mothers who use midwives equal access to all hospital services.

“A mother or a baby in need has literally been turned away at the door where they should have been seen, and redirected to another department and bounced back and forth through the hospital when we’re losing precious time,” said Gibson. “Make sure that we are added into that regulation. So that in the rare occasion when we have to do an emergency transport, or really transport of any kind with a mom or a baby, that we can go straight to labor and delivery or the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with whoever we need to get with and get that appropriate care with a smooth transition.”

Right now, women who choose to use a midwife aren’t receiving the emergency care they might need.

“They were refused NICU care and told to go to the ER. While they sat in the ER for 2 to 3 hours, the baby became progressively worse before they were called back, and eventually transferred up. So the baby did fine, but the delay sometimes can be life-threatening,” said Jami Morris, Acting President of the Palmetto Association of Licensed Midwives.

Midwives said safety of the mother and baby is always their top priority.

“Finishing a home birth at home is not a priority, finishing a home birth in the safest way for mom and baby is our priority,” said Gibson.

There are about 30 licensed midwives in South Carolina, and 5% of mothers in the state choose to give birth with a midwife.

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