Potential legislation would license and regulate midwifery for home delivery of babies in Kentucky

12/14/2016 05:38 PM

FRANKFORT – Legislation which would allow state of Kentucky to license and regulate midwives to deliver newborns at home was discussed on Wednesday during the final Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare of 2016.

The Kentucky Home Birth Coalition is lobbying to get legislation which would allow midwives to deliver low-risk pregnancies, while some in the medical community are concerned that the absence of other medical professionals could put the new born and possibly the mother in danger should a medical emergency arise.

Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, and Rep. Russell Webber, R-Shepherdsville, are in the process of currently drafting legislation which would license midwives around the state.

Mary Kathryn DeLodder of the Kentucky Home Birth Coalition, told committee members that the persons that would be licensed by the state to perform deliveries will be well trained.

“These are professionally trained midwives, they’re not lay midwives,” DeLodder said. “It’s a federally accredited credential that’s recognized in 30 other states. This legislation contains specific education requirements that would require these practitioners to go to a specific type of school. It’s not a self-study process.”

Cherie Sibley, CEO at Clark Regional Medical center in Winchester, voiced opposition to the idea saying that it leaves expecting mothers and their babies with potential dangers because a physician is not present.

“If something goes wrong, you need immediate treatment,” Sibley said. “When a woman ruptures her uterus, you have about 20 minutes to get a woman into an operating room to have surgery.”

Sibley also expressed concern that midwives don’t have working agreements with hospitals if an emergency should arise.

Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, a physician, expressed similar concerns about high risk pregnancies and home delivery.

“We’re going to have to have a discussion at some point about what people think they know about high risk deliveries and what they don’t know about high risk deliveries,” Alvarado said. “Breached presentations, children that are coming out feet first have high risk for complications.

“I’ve watched the Amish being taken care of by a physician who’s willing to do home deliveries,” he continued. “He would say, you’ve got a breached presentation, the risk of complications is very high, this needs to be done in a hospital setting.”

The meeting also marked the final time that Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, will serve as committee co-chair. Burch has served on the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare for three decades.


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