New York City Midwives Lose Right To Practice Home Births?

According to an article written by Ed Pilkington the closure of two  hospitals in New York City has left Manhattan's 13 trained midwives out of a job.  Under New York licensing rules midwives are required to be approved by a hospital or obstetrician.   When St. Vincent's hospital closed a few weeks ago the  midwives found themselves without the required paperwork and support to work legally in the city.
This city of more than 8 million people, with its reputation for being at the cutting-edge of modern urban living, now lacks a single midwife legally permitted to help women have a baby in their own homes. "It's pretty shocking that in a city where you can get anything any hour of the day a person cannot give birth at home with a trained practitioner," said Elan McAllister, president of the New York-based Choices in Childbirth.

Link to the original article.

Sadly, the New York rule is pretty clear.  How long the legal limbo will last is what is unclear.

§6951 Definition of practice of midwifery.


  • The practice of the profession of midwifery is defined as the management of normal pregnancies, child birth and postpartum care as well as primary preventive reproductive health care of essentially healthy women as specified in the written practice agreement, and shall include newborn evaluation, resuscitation and referral for infants. Midwifery shall be practiced in accordance with a written agreement between the midwife and

    1. a licensed physician who is board certified as an obstetrician-gynecologist by a national certifying body or

    2. a licensed physician who practices obstetrics and has obstetric privileges at a general hospital (licensed under article twenty-eight of the public health law) or

    3. a hospital (licensed under article twenty-eight of the public health law) that provides obstetrics through a licensed physician having obstetrical privileges at such institution. The written agreement shall provide for physician consultation, collaboration, referral and emergency medical obstetrical coverage, and shall include written guidelines and protocols. The written agreement shall provide guidelines for the identification of pregnancies that are not considered normal and address the procedures to be followed. The written agreement shall also provide a mechanism for dispute resolution and shall provide that the judgment of the appropriate physician shall prevail as to whether the pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum care is normal and whether the woman is essentially healthy in the event the practice protocols do not provide otherwise.




  • Link to the professional licensing board rules and regulations

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