Sunday, October 3, 2010

LTE: Midwives Nurture Our Health

My thanks to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for printing my letter to the editor in this morning's paper, encouraging readers to bring their families to City Hall for tomorrow's proclamation.

At the Sarasota City Commission meeting on Monday at 6 p.m., Mayor Kelly Kirschner will proclaim Oct. 4-8 as Sarasota Licensed Midwives Week. The recognition will pay tribute to the skilled, individualized care that licensed midwives offer women and their families throughout the childbearing cycle, making a strong contribution to the health of our community through appropriate care in all phases of childbirth.

The week has also been proclaimed Florida Licensed Midwives Week by the office of Gov. Charlie Crist, coinciding with National Midwifery Week, a time to recognize the contributions of certified nurse midwives, certified midwives and certified professional midwives nationwide.

Throughout the state, about 12 percent of births are managed by midwives, rather than by an obstetrician gynecologist. Many birth centers and midwives have reported a significant increase in business in the past year. This is believed to result from various factors, primarily a desire for an alternative to hospital birth because of an unhealthy increase in caesarean sections and other unnecessary interventions that frequently occur in hospital settings. The Midwives Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life events.

I am proud to live in a city that recognizes the safe, cost-effective, nurturing model of care midwives provide and the positive effect their service has on our community's birth outcomes. Please bring your families to City Hall on Monday evening and show your support for this proclamation.

Laura Gilkey, Sarasota

The writer is vice president, Florida Friends of Midwives, and serves on the executive board of directors, Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County.

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