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|Dear Senator X,
I am contacting you in regards to Senate File 77, a bill to legalize certified professional midwives in Wyoming. I am asking that you support this bill, as it will not only reduce health costs for those Wyoming families who choose to use it, but it will also give our residents the same freedom to make an informed choice about care givers while giving birth that residents in many other states already possess.
When 13 of our counties don't have any OB services available to women, and when many of the counties which do have OB services available, may require a drive of 2-3 hours to reach a labor and delivery ward -- expanding our available birth coverage to include licensed practical midwives will enhance the quality of care available to families here in Wyoming.
Moreover, with the skyrocketing costs of health care, licensed practical midwives (and home births) are a more financially manageable option for many families. My husband and I are small business owners. We pay out-of-pocket for our births. Our two children were both unmedicated vaginal births with no complications; in fact, our second was born within less than an hour at the hospital. The cost of an unmedicated vaginal delivery at Sheridan Memorial Hospital between those two births (2003 and 2006) literally doubled. Our second child cost us over $10,000 (combining hospital and OB costs; approximately $6,500 was just for our less-than-24-hour stay at the hospital).
Unfortunately for the hospital and for Wyoming in general - if we have another child, s/he will be born in Montana, where we can give birth for half the cost with a longer hospital stay (if in a hospital). That's money Wyoming is losing -- money which it would NOT lose, if the option of a licensed practical midwife and home birth were available to our family in our own state.
Licensed Practical Midwives have a national organization (North American Registry of Midwives) and it works collaboratively with the American College of Nurse-Midwives. There are solid, reputable standards in place in many states (New Mexico springs to mind) for practical midwives. Moreover, techniques used by practical midwives, such as the Gaskin Maneuver, have been learned and are being applied now by obstetricians here in the USA (the Gaskin Maneuver is a way to reverse situations which would cause shoulder dystocia, without resorting to expensive emergency c-sections).
Licensed Practical Midwives, and home birth, have a solid body of research supporting their safety for mothers and their infants. Actually, the USA ranks 41st in the world for maternal deaths [source: World Health Organization/UN], and worst in the developed world for infant mortality, despite our mostly-obstetric birth model. The nations who rank highest, have ready access to home birth midwives (both practical and certified nurses) for births. Midwives, both practical and certified, are noted for screening their patients and referring high-risk mothers to obstetricians. My sister, a nurse and diabetes educator in Montana, mentioned this very fact to me yesterday - the nurse-midwives who operate in her county refer more gestational diabetes cases to her than any other OB related practices.
The bottom line, beyond the financial and health concerns, is that Wyoming families deserve access to the health care which they desire. Choosing not to support this bill, is a choice to withhold health care options from your constituents.
Please contact me if you have any questions about my support of this bill! Thank you for your time and consideration in researching this bill.
[Name and contact information]
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