Posted on Feb 28, 2011
What happens if a midwife is responsible for a birth injury or another form of medical malpractice in Missouri? Do Missouri midwives have to be licensed or registered? Do they have to carry medical malpractice insurance? This week in Jefferson City, the Missouri House discussed whether or not more regulations should be in place for midwives.

Today, 54 different professions in Missouri require a license – even including barbers. Those who agree with the new bill say that the birth of a baby is a serious medical procedure and that midwives should be treated no differently than doctors and nurses. However, those who disagree with the bill – including most midwives – say that having to register to be a midwife would make it difficult for them to make a living. Another midwife added that women have been having babies at home with the assistance of other women for thousands of years. Others wanted a religious exemption for midwives that work in Amish communities.

The most controversial part of the bill would require each midwife to collaborate with a doctor. Midwives say that doctors would be resistant to much of what they do. All parties agreed, however, that the state should find a way to keep track of at-home births as well as any negligence or medical malpractice incidents involving midwives.

Midwives have only been able to practice legally in Missouri for the past four years. Many medical associations in the state have fought against the legalization but lost in recent years.

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