Sending Office: Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard
There is a widespread perception that the US has the best and safest maternity care system in the world, but unfortunately statistics tell us otherwise. The U.S. spends significantly more per capita on childbirth than any other industrialized nation, with
costs estimated well over $50 billion. However, despite this investment, America continues to rank far behind almost all other developed countries in birth outcomes for both mothers and babies, including unacceptably high rates of maternal and infant mortality,
preterm births, and severe complications of pregnancy that have adverse effects on women’s health. Communities of color disproportionately experience these tragedies at birth.
The statistics become more dire when you consider that the United States is facing a growing shortage of trained maternity care providers to care for the approximately 4 million women who give birth in this country each year. Currently more than five million
women in the US live in a maternity care desert, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists projects an Ob-Gyn shortage of 18% by the year 2030. This means that the numbers of babies born to women who do not receive adequate prenatal care
will continue to grow, putting them at increased risk for premature birth, stillbirth and early neonatal death.
To address this crisis in our maternity care system, we are introducing
the Midwives for Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services, or Midwives for MOMS Act. Decades of research have shown that midwifery is associated with high-quality care and outcomes that are comparable to, or in some studies better than, care
provided by obstetrician/gynecologists. Recipients of care by midwives report high levels of patient satisfaction, and midwifery care results in lower costs due to fewer unnecessary, invasive, and expensive interventions. But Midwives are currently only attending
about 12% of all births in the US, and 56% of counties in this country do not have a single nurse-midwife or certified midwife.
The Midwives for MOMS Act will establish two new funding streams for midwifery education, one in the Title VII Health Professions Training Programs, and one in the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs. The bill will also address the significant
lack of diversity in the maternity care workforce by focusing on students from minority or disadvantaged communities.
We can and must do better for moms and babies in this country, and increasing access to midwifery care is one critical step to achieving better outcomes. To become an original cosponsor of the Midwives for MOMS Act, or for more information about the bill,
please contact Debbie Jessup in Congresswoman Roybal-Allard’s office at
Debbie.Jessup@mail.house.gov or Anna Breen in Congresswoman Herrera Beutler’s office at
Member of Congress
JAIME HERRERA BEUTLER
Member of Congress
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