S.D. midwives will have to assess each birth

Capitol News Bureau

(Credit: LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota board that regulates midwives who attend births out of hospitals agreed Thursday to start requiring assessments of each time and the assessments will be reviewed.

The reviews are to be done by the board’s state-required physician member and one of the board’s three state-required professional midwife members. They will recommend whether a review should be made by all five board members.

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The Legislature created the Board of Certified Professional Midwives in 2017. Currently there are four CPMs licensed in the state and three student license holders.

State Department of Health data show licensed CPMs were at 39 births delivered outside of institutions in 2018 and 38 in 2019. The department said live births in South Dakota totaled 11,890 in 2018 and 11,448 in 2019.

Executive secretary Tammy Weis said Thursday the goal of the assessments is to find ways to help midwives if any is needed.

The board should promote honest and clear reporting and avoid an atmosphere where midwives would leave out information because of fear of punishment, according to Weis. “We’d rather know what’s really happening,” she said.

The board’s physician member, Kimberlee McKay of Sioux Falls, agreed: “We don’t want people to be fearful. We want people to report.”

State law says members from outside South Dakota can be appointed until at least five South Dakota CPMs are licensed.

Jacqueline Lopez is a CPM from Gillette, Wyoming, who serves on the South Dakota board. Lopez said the assessment form doesn’t list the board’s rules for when a midwife must have the mother or child or both transported to a hospital. “It would help the OBs (obstetricians) to understand the criteria the midwives are under,” Lopez said.

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