ABOUT US >

Midwives Alliance of Hawaii (MAH) was founded as a domestic non-profit organization in May 1993 and was re-birthed in August 2011. We are currently working on becoming a 501(c)3 federally recognized non-profit.

 

MAH is pleased to work with all who are interested in midwifery as a standard of care for women and babies.

 

MAH provides families access to safe, quality midwives who believe that pregnancy and childbirth are healthy natural processes. 

 

Please join us as we work to further the art and profession of midwifery.

CONTACT >

P.O. Box 241

Hau'ula, HI 96717

E: midwiveshawaii@gmail.com

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For Immediate Release

May 5, 2019

 

For More Information

Leʻa Minton, Board President

midwiveshawaii@gmail.com

Governor Signs Act 32: Licenses Midwives in Hawaiʻi
In celebration of International Day of the Midwife, Hawaiʻi becomes 35th state to regulate midwives

HONOLULU, HI – International Day of the Midwife “Midwives: Defenders of women’s rights” is being celebrated today all around the world, and Hawaiʻi is joining in by honoring midwives with a licensure law! Governor David Ige signed the bipartisan legislation to license midwives into law on April 30, 2019 as Act 32.

 

The law was introduced as part of the Women’s Legislative Caucus Package to regulate midwifery practice in Hawaiʻi, providing public health protections through adoption and implementation of global and national standards for midwives. Act 32 provides exemptions for traditional Native Hawaiian healing practices, as they are protected under the State Constitution; and birth attendants until July 1, 2023 if they disclose they are practicing without a license. A task force is included in the law, which legislators have suggested be used by birth attendants to define themselves, their scope of practice and educational pathway for regulation by 2023. 

 

Dani Dougherty, a certified professional midwife (CPM) on Hawaiʻi island who specializes in community based care, states “This bill has been a long time coming! Hawaiʻi families who choose community birth will have access to providers who are willing to prove their competency by meeting the appropriate educational, training and credentialing standards.” Dani Dougherty intends to apply for licensure in 2020.

 

Midwives were regulated in Hawaiʻi from 1931 through 1998 through the Department of Health. The midwifery law was repealed when nurse-midwives were placed under the board of nursing, resulting in a lapse of midwifery regulation. Certified nurse-midwives have continued to be licensed as advanced practice registered nurses. Act 32 recognizes and provides a pathway to licensure for certified professional midwives and certified midwives in Hawaiʻi after 21 years of legislative efforts.

 

“Recognizing midwives is critical,” says Leʻa Minton, Board President of Midwives Alliance of Hawaiʻi , “as they are part of the solution to our healthcare provider shortage, and they generally live and work in rural and neighbor island communities. There is a misperception that midwives only take care of pregnant women and deliver babies. This is definitely one aspect of their beloved care services, and midwives are also trained to provide well woman exams; pap smears; breast exams; counsel on reproductive life plans and some prescribe contraceptive methods; screen for sexually transmitted infections and some prescribe treatment; screen for depression, tobacco and substance use disorder, provide brief interventions and/or refer out as needed for treatment; and care for newborns in the first 4-6 weeks of life. Licensing midwives recognizes them as part of the healthcare team, and provides the opportunity for them to work to their fullest scope of practice, which is when Hawaiʻi gains the maximum benefit of midwifery care. We are so grateful to everyone who helped with this effort, to Governor Ige for signing Act 32 into law, and we are absolutely thrilled with the opportunities that lie ahead!”

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For Immediate Release

April 17, 2019

 

For More Information

Leʻa Minton, Board President

midwiveshawaii@gmail.com

Hawaiʻi Legislators Birth a Midwifery Bill After 20 Years Gestation
Bill licenses midwives, exempts Native Hawaiian practices, and provides task force for traditional birth attendants

HONOLULU, HI - Bipartisan legislation to license midwives passed the Hawaiʻi House of Representatives on Tuesday April 9, 2019 and the Senate on Friday April 12, 2019. At this time, Senate Bill 1033 awaits the Governor’s signature. 

 

The legislation, introduced as part of the Women’s Legislative Caucus Package, clarifies what midwifery practice is and what the licensure requirements are for midwives. Senate Bill 1033 provides exemptions for traditional Native Hawaiian healing practices, as they are protected under the State Constitution. A task force will investigate issues relating to traditional birth attendants, who receive a temporary exemption from licensure while they work to define their scope and educational pathway for regulation. 

 

“This legislation is founded on the International Confederation of Midwives definitions, education, and essential competencies, which is the global standard for midwifery. The United States is one of over 130 countries who adopt this criteria, and 33 states regulate midwifery,” Leʻa Minton, Board President of Midwives Alliance of Hawaiʻi says. She notes SB1033 provides a pathway to licensure for midwives meeting these standards and Hawaiʻi midwifery students, both current and future, enrolled in programs. 

 

Midwives were regulated in Hawaiʻi from 1931 through 1998 through the Department of Health. The midwifery law was repealed when nurse-midwives were placed under the board of nursing, resulting in a lapse of midwifery regulation for the last 20 years. Certified nurse-midwives have continued to be licensed as advanced practice registered nurses; certified professional midwives and certified midwives have not had licensure in Hawaiʻi despite years of legislative efforts. Currently there is no midwifery standard in Hawaiʻi as a lack of regulation has resulted in persons being able to provide care, including attending community birth, under the title midwife/midwifery services without demonstrated education and proven competencies. 

 

State Representative Linda Ichiyama (District 32- Moanalua, Salt Lake), a co-convener of the Women’s Legislative Caucus, said, “this bill strikes an important balance by allowing those who have the credentials and training to seek licensure and by giving an exemption to traditional and cultural practitioners to come together in a task force to discuss the right level of regulation and accountability. We look forward to the task force’s report and hope to bring all groups together to ensure a basic level of consumer protection and safety for mothers and babies.”

 

Senate Bill 1033 provides the public with access to quality care and professional accountability by integrating midwifery into healthcare, which research has shown improves maternal and infant health outcomes.

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