If passed in its current form, House Bill 5807 could change the face of maternity care in the United States! It will not only address the health and well-being of mothers and babies, but in the process save thousands of dollars now being spent for unnecessary interventions in all aspects of maternity care. Thus the intent of this House Bill is to make the passion and dream of many a midwife, nurse, childbirth educator and doula come true: make evidence based maternity care a reality.
Particularly thrilling is the promotion of a Consumer Education Campaign (Section 103, page 17 line 22.) which "highlights the importance of protecting, promoting, and supporting the innate capacities of childbearing women and their newborns for childbirth, breastfeeding and attachment PLUS promoting the understanding of the importance of using obstetric interventions only when supported by strong, high quality evidence". Later in the same section, the Bill speaks of utilizing "non-invasive maternity practices....that are significantly underused in the United States, including...continuous labor support." Clearly the writers of this Bill have done their homework and have spoken to the right people, as the verbage is heavy towards consumer education.
Title III (page 28, line 17) and other portions of the Bill addresses the need for more geographical and ethnic diversity. The Bill incentivizes entering obstetrical care by providing financial support for physicians (OB and family physicians), and midwives (CPM and CNMs) as well as grants to professional organizations to increase diversity in maternity care professionals. Additionally, the Bill addresses the disparities of maternity care of women/care of newborns along racial and ethnic lines. In spite of tremendous strides in innovative technology, our statistics in the world as far as maternal morbidity/mortality and infant morbidity/mortality is bleak. Many hospitals in this country are either updating NICUs or building newer/bigger NICUs for the influx of near-term infants, many of whom are the result of inductions too early.
As it reads now, the bill will create a Center for Excellence on Optimal Maternity Outcomes to oversee many of the above projects. As long as the sponsors of this bill (currently 24 and referred to the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee and the House Ways and Means subcommittee), stay true to the verbage of this version of the bill, great things will happen for women and children in the United States.
Where to take it from here? Not sure?
Here are some easy steps! And this is what I am doing!
1) Find out who your US Congressperson is ~ not sure? click here If you are close to several districts, make sure you energize others in those districts to make appointments NOW with the Rep. They will very soon be on a six week summer break! Most likely, the bill will be reintroduced after the first of the new year.
2) Take some information with you as evidence of why you are supporting this bill! First read the bill yourself and highlight the points you want to make with your Rep. You may not have much time to meet with them. Not sure what to take? I have put together a packet of information for my own visits. I will gladly send one to you for the cost of copying and postage. Contact me for additional information on this packet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) After you have met with your Congressperson, let me others know what you did and what the reaction was! Email me and I'll be posting the responses on the my Facebook page!