What is a Florida Licensed Midwife?
- Professional practitioners providing expert prenatal, labor, delivery, and postpartum services to women having normal, healthy pregnancies.
- Graduates of a 3-year Academic and Clinical Midwifery Education Program.
- The License Requirements of Florida meet established National and International Professional Standards
Through Licensed Midwifery, Florida shows leadership in health policy innovation. Florida’s statute is seen as a standard for direct-entry midwifery programs by many other states. Continued support by the Florida Legislature gives all Florida families access to this choice of time-honored, quality maternity care. Florida has been licensing midwives since 1931. The Midwifery Practice Act (FS 467) was updated in 1982 and 1992, based on World Health Organization standards and successful European direct-entry midwifery programs. To become licensed, an applicant completes a three-year program of academic and clinical education and must pass the North American Registry of Midwives national certification examination. Licensed Midwives are autonomous maternity care providers for women experiencing normal, healthy pregnancies. Midwives also work collaboratively with physicians, if medical concerns arise. Licensed Midwives offer childbirth services in clients’ homes, birth centers, clinics and hospitals, and they are eligible for reimbursement by Private Insurance and Medicaid.
Midwives deliver over 70% of the babies born in countries which have fewer infant and maternal deaths, lower cesarean rates, and lower health care costs that the United States.
- The United States ranks 26th, worldwide, in infant survival.
- Florida’s rate of low birth weight babies is twice as high as in Sweden or Finland, where midwifery services are standard care for women with normal, healthy pregnancies (8% vs. 4% low birth weight)
- Women under the care of a midwife have significantly fewer costly cesarean births, when comparing similar pregnancy profiles.
- Florida’s 22.2% cesarean rate ranks 39th within the U.S., with cesarean birth costing twice as much as vaginal births.