LANSING, Mich. — Midwives in Michigan will need to receive a license to practice in the state starting next month.
The licensure is a key part of a set of rules put together by the Michigan Board of Licensed Midwifery. It was put in place in 2017 and goes into effect this August, aimed at making the practice safer.
"There's some additional accountability and requirements for informed consent," says Jennifer Holshoe, a certified professional midwife.
There will be clearer requirements for when a mother should seek emergency medical care. It also makes it easier for mothers to file a complaint, if necessary, while adding a layer of protection for certified professional midwives themselves.
"So now anything that comes into question will be reviewed by the midwifery board, my peers, and people who really understand the practice of midwifery," says Holshoe.
Erica Jones has had three homebirths, one in a state where midwives must be licensed, and says knowing those requirements are in place makes the experience easier.
"It was really easy to find a midwife, it was easy to do research. Everybody because their licensed, it's easy to find somebody in other states midwifery is kind of underground," Jones says.
But it’s not all positive.
CPM Sara Badger is concerned that the new licensure prevents them from giving medication to women without a doctor’s approval.
"Our options, right now are to work without drugs or see if anybody will be willing," Badger says. "So LARA, by including that in the licensing kind of made it impossible for us to work the way we had been working for the last 20 or 30 years here in Michigan."
Badger says this is overall a win for midwifery and mothers, but there is still work to be done.
"I think licensing was really great. I think that what they did was a really good job, but I also think we have to evaluate all the benefits and some of the downfalls that it created," Badger says.
One of the things to note is that once this takes effect, insurance companies may be required to allow people to use insurance to see a midwife. People are advised to contact their insurance provider for more information.
Midwives can still apply for the license. Find out more details here.