Birthwise believes that effective maternity care results from the integration of scientific evidence with time-honored birth traditions. We train our students to be skilled, knowledgeable, and compassionate midwives who serve their communities with the knowledge and skill of modern healthcare professionals and the wisdom of ancient practitioners.
The Role of Midwives
Until the 19th century, midwives attended the majority of births in all parts of the world. These midwives, traditionally women chosen by their communities, supported mothers as they gave birth naturally. These women, the first maternity caregivers, based their practice on the wisdom and skills passed from one generation to the next, on their first-hand experience giving birth, and on the experiences of the women they attended.
Midwives and nurse midwives still deliver the majority of babies worldwide, although not in North America. That midwives are relegated to the margins of the maternity care systems in countries like the United States is surprising, considering the numerous studies confirming the benefits of midwifery care.
Despite advanced medical technology and medical intervention, American mothers and babies are more likely to die in childbirth and babies are more likely to be born prematurely or of low birthweight than in other developed countries. Unacceptable disparities in birth outcomes also exist between cultural and racial groups in the United States. This despite the fact that we spend more on healthcare per capita than any other country in the world. We believe midwifery care is the key to improving maternity outcomes, especially for the most vulnerable populations.
As an institution, Birthwise is actively engaged in efforts to improve maternity culture in the United States by establishing a more central role for midwives of all types. In particular, we advocate for the integration of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) into the wider system of maternity care for the benefit of mothers and babies. Our staff is actively involved in beneficial political campaigns, notably the campaign to regulate midwives in the state of Maine, the national accreditation of midwifery schools, and the national dialog between Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), Certified Midwives (CMs), and CPMs.
Birthwise Midwifery School is also dedicated to the development of midwifery scholarship. We publish Midwifery Matters, a bi-annual academic journal that showcases exceptional midwifery research, particularly research conducted by our own students, teachers, and alumni.