Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What if ... the buzz on social networks

There is a buzz beginning on major social netowrking sites like facebook and twitter that is growing with the news of a toddler flu death in Texas.

What if I go into labor, and the hospital is full of flu patients? What if hospitals become overrun with contagious carriers of a deadly virus? Who has the specialized portable equipment and knows how to help women give birth safely without all the risky drugs that most American hospital staffs rely on? Obstetricians do not understand natural childbirth nor how to help women avoid the need for risky pain relief. If we want our babies to be truly safe during epidemics, the answer is clearly making sure that those midwives who are certified in home birth can serve moms and babies.

The H1-N1 flu has many in the birth community collectively thinking, saying or typing ... "we told you so!"

With nearly half the country failing to license certified professional midwives, our nation's experts in low-tech out-of hospital birth, we are left to wonder: who will care for women giving birth in times of disaster? Do we really want our most vulnerable and precious newborn babies coming into this world where sick people are being housed?

“Thankfully, the hospital where the toddler died doesn’t provide obstetric services. But if the flu continues to spread at predicted levels, it’s just a matter of time before healthy mothers and newborns are going to start getting exposed. It’s absolutely critical that we begin recruiting Certified Professional Midwives to our local, regional and national disaster preparedness plans,” stated Katherine Prown of the national Big Push Campaign, which advocates independent, legal practice for certified professional midwives and nurse-midwives alike. "It was only reported later that the child was treated in a children's hospital, but that's no comfort when a woman is in labor and hears a vague new report about flu in her area."

Prown's thoughts are echoed by many birth advocates like Jacque Shannon-McNulty, a childbirth educator, doula who is also with the groupChicago Commuity Midwives posted a link to a USA Today article about the 91 cases confirmed in the U.S, along with her own comment:

Healthy moms and babies need special protections in place for birth during a flu pandemic. We need to ensure that these women and their babies have safe out of hospital birth options available to minimize the risks of swine flu transmission to vulnerable, healthy populations. What's the best way to minimize needless neonatal deaths from a flu pandemic? Keep healthy moms and new babies away from sick people and the virulent flu viruses flooding the hospitals. It's a simple, cost-effective and appropriate measure. Moms are already thinking about this- our elected officials need to be proactive here, protect these moms and babies and pass the Homebirth Safety Act as soon as possible.

The Coalition's president, Michelle Breen, MHS, is driven not only by data and science but also common sense:
"The Chicago area could have about 90 cases of swine flu in the next three weeks". ([quoting National Public Radio} How long will it take for the General Assembly to pass the Home Birth Safety Act?

Shouldn't Illinois do everything possible to increase the number of licensed home birth experts so that families can decide about place of birth and associated risks?

Do you have a pithy comment or profound statement? Post it here! Blog about it. Facebook it or Tweat! Let's make sure that the proven safe solution of certified professional midwives is recognized and utilized!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Worried about the flu?

Let your state representative know. Concerns about hospitals being inaccessible or too dangerous for healthy birthing women, we see this as yet another reason to license certified professional midwives and include them in disaster preparedness planning.

Visit Illinois State Board of Elections (click on By Address) to look up who your state representative is. Call your Illinois state representative's office TODAY and ask the best way to send this press release (email, fax if you can, or snail mail), and then let us know what you did!

Include a small hand-written note asking (or thanking) them for their support. If your rep is a republican, you can include a quick statement that, even if this flu scare turns out to be nothing, this is just one more reason that Medical lobbying groups should NOT be steering public policy and interfering with your family's childbirth decisions.

Send Colette Bernard a facebook message or email me at Tell us any small detail of what happened so we can keep track!

Big Push Flu Press Release Big Push Flu Press Release Colette Bernhard Press release. As the country braces for a possible flue pandemic, advocates call on local, state and federal authorities to include certified professional midwives in disaster preparedness, due to their expertise in low tech, out-of-hospital birth.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

SPRINGFIELD HEARING (first 30 minutes)

Our hearing has a real buzz surrounding it in Springfield ... still! Now you can see the first thirty minutes and witness the travesty of the Illinois House Health Care Availability Access Committee voting this legislation down! This video was shot with a small, hand-held camera and was not mic'd up to the microphones, so be prepared to put your listening cap on! Also, you can hear all the families waiting, Our supporters filled the room and spilled out into the hallway. Lobbyists and other legislators came to witness this hearing, and anyone present could not comprehend why anyone would vote against this desperately needed piece of legislation.

We would like to thank the following legislators for their especially strong support for licensing midwives:

Senator Bill Haine
Represetnative Julie Hamos
Represetnative Mary Flowers
House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie
Represetnative Daniel Burke
Senator Martin Sandoval
Senate President John J. Cullerton
Representative Paul Froehlich
Representative Toni Berrios
Senator Willie Delgao
House Assistant Majority Leader Joseph Lyons
House Assistant Majority Leader Jack McGuire
House Assistant Minority Leader Ron Stephens
Senator Pamela Althoff
Representative Mike Tryon
Reprsentative Luis Arroyo
House Deputy Majority Leader Art Turner
Senator Donne Trotter
Representative Deborah Mell, and
Representative Eddie Washington