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Mother explains choice to use out-of-hospital midwife

HUNTSVILLE, Ala - For the first time in 40 years, the State of Alabama has granted licenses for out-of-hospital midwives. Last year a law was passed in Alabama to allow out-of-hospital midwives to get their license to practice. And now the day has come that women will be able to deliver babies at home in the state.

Rebekah Armstrong is a mother of two. She used midwives during both her pregnancies.

"I don't like hospitals very much," Armstrong explained. "I don't like doctor visits. It just makes me feel on guard all the time and I loved the personal part of the midwifery."

She says it gave her the freedom to take control of her delivery.

"They'll check heart tones and really watch and make sure everything is going fine, but as long as everything is going as it should, I like hands off," Armstrong continued. "And so I pretty much deliver my babies on my own. They're there. But unless I need their assistance they just let me work through."

She is glad to see the state of Alabama has licensed midwives.

"I think my initial reaction was... Finally," she added.

Andrea Mccullom is also excited. She is a midwife apprentice who is preparing to open a practice.

"I'm finally about to be certified and licensed within the next few months," she stated.

McCullom has been working in this field for 11 years. She says the training can take as little as two to become a certified professional midwife. She says CPM candidates receive training in how to handle emergencies during delivery.

"Midwives are trained to take care of those type of situations and to know when there is something that we can't take care of and when it is time to transport to a hospital to get further help," she added. "That is a big part of our training. And we're tested on that. We are required to go to workshops and learn new ways to deal with things constantly. So, we have medications to help take care of hemorrhage if that were to happen and we have oxygen and we're trained how to use it. And we're trained in neonatal resuscitation and CPR for adults."

She says midwives develop a bond with the mothers they work with. She says they meet with women for an hour at each appointment to talk about the pregnancy, their diet and how they are feeling emotionally.

"We actually develop a really close relationship," she said. "A lot of times we'll have moms that are really sad after they've had their baby because like, 'Well now I'm not going to get to see you anymore.'"

She says this opens the door to mothers to not have to travel out of state to use a midwife.

"Now these women get to stay home," she continued.

Traveling during labor is something Armstrong has found challenging. She drove to Tennessee when her first baby was born.

"We drove an hour with me in labor at three minutes apart with a very hard back labor, which is very uncomfortable," she remembered.

The drive was so concerning with her second baby she made the decision to stay at home.

"So, I delivered and my midwives came and checked after," she said. "Once my body went into labor I had her in 45 minutes. So, I am one of those moms that I'm likely to have very quick labors and I wasn't having my baby in the car."

Armstrong says if she decides to have more children, she looks forward to being able to have her midwives present in her home during labor.

She does wish there were fewer restrictions for being able to use an out-of-hospital midwife.

There are several criteria for obtaining a certified professional midwifery license in Alabama.

To be considered for a midwifery license, there are requirements.

  1. Be at least 21 years old
  2. Be a citizen of the United States
  3. Have obtained a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential through an
    education program or pathway accredited by the Midwifery Education
    Accreditation Council (MEAC) or by another accrediting agency recognized by
    the United States Department of Education.
    OR
    An applicant who has obtained a CPM credential prior to January 1, 2020,
    through a non-accredited pathway, provided the applicant obtains the Midwifery
    Bridge Certificate or completes an educational program or pathway accredited by
    MEAC or by another accrediting agency recognized by the United States
    Department of Education.
    OR
    An applicant who has maintained licensure in a state that does not require an
    accredited education, provided the applicant obtains the Midwifery Bridge
    Certificate or completes an educational program or pathway accredited by MEAC
    or by another accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of
    Education.

A license can be revoked or suspended.

  1. Has obtained a license by means of fraud, misrepresentation, or concealment of
    material facts, including making a false statement on an application or any other
    document required by the board for licensure.
  2. Has engaged in unprofessional conduct pursuant to rules adopted by the
    Alabama State Board of Midwifery
  3. Has been convicted of any felony
  4. Has performed an act that exceeds the scope of practice granted by the board to
    the Licensed Midwife
  5. Has had his or her license revoked, suspended, or denied in any other territory or
    jurisdiction of the United States for any act described in this subsection

For more information about Alabama State Board of Midwifery, you can visit their website.

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