Where is my SLO County midwife?
October 24, 2011
OPINION By JOANNE TARKINGTON
National Midwifery Week is celebrated during the month of October locally, nationally and globally. While the rest of the country is commemorating the exemplary services of midwives, San Luis Obispo County supported health clinics will no longer offer midwife deliveries to their pregnant moms.
Starting Nov. 1, it will be the first time in almost 20 years that I or other midwives will not be delivering the babies of women from the SLO County sponsored health clinics. Over the years I have delivered thousands of county supported health clinic babies at French Hospital Medical Center, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, and the old SLO General Hospital.
More than 11,000 midwives and their supporters commemorate National Midwifery Week. Supporters honor the dedicated midwives who offer their skills and compassion to the millions of women and families they serve.
National Midwifery Week takes place this year at a time when our nation is searching for ways to ensure all Americans have access to high quality primary, preventive and well-woman services. Half of our population is women who may need maternity services. All women deserve the access, availability and choice of midwifery care, especially those women who use the clinic system that are supported by state, federal, and local funding.
For the first time in nearly 20 years, the SLO County Community Health Center clinics have eliminated the Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) along with a team of lactation specialist services.
When the Board of Supervisor closed General Hospital and their prenatal clinics, it was expected that the Community Health Clinics (CHC) would continue to utilize these “models of care” providers as they have until now.
Quite the opposite has transpired. As of Nov. 1, one month after the rest of the country has celebrated National Midwifery Week, there will be no more midwife deliveries for the CHC clinic families.
Midwives had provided excellent prenatal care, continuity of care and safe deliveries to thousand of women in this clinic system. It will be an end of an era, and I along with the other midwives will miss serving this population sector!
Joanne Tarkington, CNM, is a member of SLO City Midwives.