Dear editor,

In your September 19 story on the practice of illegal midwives [“An Illegitimate Birth”] you discuss the activities of an unlicensed midwife in great detail. As a certified nurse midwife, I found it quite upsetting that the use of this unlicensed practitioner was positioned as a desirable alternative to the health-care services available today.

Certified nurse midwives support a woman’s choices, including home birth, the use of herbs, acupuncture, massage, hypnosis, and natural childbirth. Having formal education and national and state licensure does not necessitate high-tech medical intervention. But it does mean we have the scientific knowledge and resources needed to provide the best possible care to women–from identifying possible problems to simply knowing our patient’s blood type.

Birth is a time of celebration. Certified nurse midwives understand that women are experiencing one of the most exciting times of their lives. This wonderful experience is all about the woman and her family, not the provider. An unlicensed birth attendant puts the woman and her family in the awkward position of protecting the illegal midwife and her anonymity rather than focusing on the pregnancy.

Certified nurse midwives are an excellent option for women who want to focus on the power and beauty of childbirth, ensuring both mom and baby are healthy.

Kathy Loebel

Certified nurse midwife

Swedish Covenant Hospital