The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, September 12, 1990 - Page 7
University to launch state's first nurse-midwifery program
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-by Michelle Clayton
xResponding to the expanding
needs of expectant mothers and a'
health care crisis in obstetrical care,
the University will launch the first
-Nurse-Midwifery program in Michi-
In addition to helping to alleviate
the shortage of obstetrical care, the
University program is expected to
cut Michigan's infant mortality rate
- the tenth highest in the country.
This year, the University's
Nurse-Midwifery Education Program
will admit eight full-time students,
all of whom already have a bache-
Jor's degree and are registered nurses.
Graduates will earn a master's degree
in nursing, and will take the Ameri-
can College of Nurse-Midwives cer-
-tification exam before practicing in
hospitals, health maintenance orga-
nizations, private clinics, and other
-health care settings.
Nurse-Midwifery is on the rise
for several reasons. First, there is an
increasing demand for a personal,
emotionally gratifying pregnancy
"and birth. Because the patient and te
nurse-midwife develop a close rela-
tionship before the birth, they offer a
more personalized birth than high-
risk oriented obstetricians.
only handle non-Caesarean and low-
risk births, therefore malpractice in-
surance costs are low. Nurse-mid-
wives can deliver a baby at 40 per-
'I agree with a more
it benefits the patient
more... I would
definitely trust a
- H. Moon
can consult an obstetrician. A good
midwife should be able to recognize
certain things that warrant trans-
portation to a hospital during the
birth if necessary. Postpartum care
and counseling are also part of the
One advantage of giving birth at
home is the mother can set the envi-
ronment for the birth.
"The client can choose how long
she will push for, what position she
would like to be in, which family
members are present, and how much
noise she'd like to make," said
Michigan Midwives Association
member Mickey Sperlich.
One question posed by midwifery
is if it will receive public accep-
tance. LSA sophomore Joanna Ursal
said, "The cost and more personal
atmosphere is definitely a plus."
LSA sophomore H. Moon said,
"I agree with a more personal envi-
ronment, it benefits the patient
more... I would definitely trust a
There are two types of midwives.
There are certified nurse-midwives
(CNMs) and lay midwives. The
University program will enroll about
eight students this year to become
CNMs. The Michigan Midwives
Association has a total of 75 mem-
bers, and Sperlich estimates there are
about 100-150 lay midwives in the
state of Michigan.
The statistics show some posi-
- _- - _ .. .rL -
tive results of the relaxed birth at-
mosphere. Sperlich cited statistics
from the Public Citizen Health Re-
search Group, a Washington D.C.:
based consumer advocacy group, that,
in 1987 25 percent of all hospital
births in Michigan were Caesarean
sections, with two Detroit hospitals
having a rate of 40 percent. Con-
versely, only two percent of all
home births were Caesarean sec-
tions. "Given the state of mal-
practice if they can't say I didn't do
everything I could, including C-
section, they are liable," said
Sperlich. "Our insurance is our
relationship with our clients."
Catch all the
cent of the cost of an obstetrician. A
physician is immediately called in to
relieve the midwife if and when any-
thing appears abnormal.
Midwives provide pre-natal coun-
seling and care, during which time
85 percent of all complications can
be determined and a high-risk woman
t l ; r r ,
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