Midwifery care and birth outcomes in the United States

We’ve covered lots of important topics related to maternal health in the United States. We’ve talked about the alarming trends in maternal mortality rates in this country, the health disparities affecting women of color, and have reported on maternity care deserts. It’s clear that so much still needs to be done to protect the well-being of women in our communities. In this country, this includes taking a close look at pregnancy-related health and health care.

The mission of March of Dimes is to lead the fight for the health of all moms and babies. Nearly half a million babies in the U.S. are born prematurely each year. Women of color are up to 50 percent more likely than white women to give birth prematurely, and their children can face a 130 percent higher infant death rate than children born to white women.

Access to medical care is just one important factor that can improve birth and maternal health outcomes. In line with our mission, we’ve developed and released a position statement on midwifery care and birth outcomes in the United States.

What is midwifery care?

Midwifery refers to certified nurse–midwives (CNMs), certified midwives (CMs) or midwives whose education and licensure meets the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Global Standards for Midwifery Education.

Midwifery care offers a chance to address health disparities and help improve birth outcomes, especially among women of color. Some studies suggest that midwifery care can lower interventions (like needing a c-section or pain medicine), can lower health care costs, increase patient satisfaction (happiness) and improve care.

A call to action

March of Dimes supports efforts to increase access to midwifery care and midwives and their model of care into maternity care in all states. This can help improve access to maternity care in under-resourced areas, reduce interventions that contribute to risk of maternal mortality and morbidity in pregnancies, lower costs, and potentially improve the health of mothers and babies.

Learn more about our position statements and advocacy work. We encourage all to read our midwifery care and birth outcomes position statement and share it across your networks. Advocacy is a key factor in helping advance March of Dimes’ mission so that every mom and every baby have a healthy start. We won’t stop fighting to level the playing field so that all moms and babies are healthy. To learn more about how you can lend your support visit our action center.