Medical malpractice

Alternative Birth Regulations in Pennsylvania

June 1, 2016 by Carrie Capouellez
Alternative Birth Regulations in Pennsylvania

Over the past decade, more women have chosen natural out-of-hospital birth options with midwives rather than traditional hospital obstetrical treatment and medications. While every woman has the right to give birth how she chooses, it’s important to understand what requirements all midwives are expected to meet to ensure safe deliveries. Read on to find out about the alternative birth regulations in Pennsylvania.

Certified Nurse Midwives

There are several types of midwives; however, in Pennsylvania the only midwives registered and thus regulated by the state are certified nurse midwives. These individuals must have a nursing degree and a midwifery accreditation. Certified nurse midwives are licensed by the state of Pennsylvania’s medical board and are affiliated with or have a contractual agreement with a physician. This ensures that women who choose a Pennsylvania certified nurse midwife still have a physician overseeing their birthing experiences.

Certified nurse midwives can perform homebirths, but they most often operate in hospitals and birthing centers where access to emergency medical equipment and treatment is available, if necessary.

Midwifery Certification

There are several accreditation programs that provide midwifery certification; however, certified nurse midwives in Pennsylvania have several advantages over midwives who only hold an outside accreditation.

Certified nurse midwives have greater freedom to administer medications to both mother and baby during the birthing process. Additionally, certified nurse midwives undergo more medical training than other midwives, which allows them to better handle any emergencies.

The Dangers of Homebirths

Because of independent midwifery accreditation groups, a good number of midwives operate without being licensed by the state of Pennsylvania. These midwives perform at-home births that can be life threatening for both the mother and the baby. In the event of a critical situation, like a stillbirth or where the newborn requires immediate care to breathe, unlicensed midwives may not have the training or medical equipment available to administer lifesaving treatment.

Philadelphia Birth Injury Attorneys

Unlicensed midwives can be very dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies. Mistakes made during childbirth can cause birth injuries that require a lifetime of medical care, including cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, brain damage, muscle damage, and development disabilities, among others. If you suspect your child suffered a birth injury during homebirth with a midwife or other non-physician healthcare provider, call the experienced Philadelphia birth injury attorneys at Lopez McHugh LLP today for a free and confidential consultation.

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