On July 1, 2013, pregnant women in Indiana will have the choice to have home births attended by midwives. This practice of home birthing, long an underground tradition, will now be regulated by the state. Indiana joins 28 other states that permit the practice.
House Enrolled Act 1135 recognizes a new category of midwives —“certified direct entry midwifery”— who routinely attend home births. The Indiana Medical Licensing Board has been charged with licensing certified direct entry midwives and to adopt rules and regulations from a midwifery committee that includes midwives and doctors. Before the House Enrolled Act 1135, only certified nurse-midwives could attend to home births. However, most of those midwives work exclusively in hospitals or obstetric practices. Few were available for home birthing. This new category will allow for competent medical care for the approximately 1,000 women who give birth at home in Indiana each year. This bill was especially important to the Amish community in Indiana.
Physicians still play a role in home birthing. Mothers who are planning a home birth must be seen by a physician twice during her pregnancy, in the first and third trimesters, to supervise the care given by the midwife.
Although childbirth is a routine medical procedure for the vast majority of women, malpractice still plays a significant role in wrongful death and permanent birth injuries, such as:
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Nerve and spinal cord injuries
- Oxygen deprivation
- Brain damage
- Bone fractures
- Shoulder or hip displacement
If your child has suffered death or injury at birth, attended by a midwife or physician, counsel from compassionate and experienced medical malpractice attorneys can help you consider the various options.