We are honored to introduce ourselves as the four midwives of Community Roots Midwife Collective (CRMC). We are a group of dedicated, trained midwives providing home birth midwifery services to those in or near Boulder County. Central to our mission is to provide skilled midwifery care to anyone who desires it, regardless of their ability to pay. Our collective holds the values of integrity, human rights, reproductive justice and physiologic birth paramount.
As individuals, our backgrounds and experience are varied, and we come together offering heart-centered, competent care. Together, we come from a line of elders and teachers who span from Montana, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico, Guatemala, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Midwifery is an ancient art form, rich in wisdom and tradition.
We invite everyone to re-member the purpose and power of childbirth. Concepts which come to our minds are: Evolution. Reproduction. Human Nature. Temporality. Connectedness. Humility. Empowerment.
Birth is fundamental to our survival. When people are able and willing to connect to this mysterious and impactful process in a way that feels authentic to them, they are given the opportunity to understand and model inner strength, courage, deep wisdom, self reliance and self respect. It can be understood then, that the way in which we acknowledge and approach health care during pregnancy and birth, will have a profound effect on our entire society.
In our current culture, Americans generally approach childbearing as a medicalized process in need of expert management, often met with interventions and fear. The US spends more on maternity care and obstetric technology than any other industrialized country, yet we rank last or near the bottom when it comes to outcomes (cesarean rate, maternal mortality/morbidity, preterm labor, premature birth, perinatal and infant mortality/morbidity, and postpartum depression). Important to note, our poor, immigrant, and communities of color are those which experience the highest rates of complications. Statewide data for Colorado looks very similar to the national averages for these outcomes.
In contrast, countries which make space for the natural process of birth, limit interventions, andwhere midwives attend the majority of births have better outcomes (ie Finland, Iceland, Norway, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the UK). The Midwives Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes. The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section (CFM). Here in Boulder county, about 9% of all births are attended by certified nurse midwives (CNMs) and about 3% are attended by certified professional midwives (CPMs)/Registered Midwives, such as our practice.
Why Midwives and Home Birth?
Research from the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) statistics program (which we are a part of) has collected and analyzed 17,000 cases in which the pregnant person was planning a home birth from 2004-2009.
The data states:
- 89.1% of planned home births occurred at home
- 93.6% vaginal birth
- 87% vaginal births after cesarean (vbac) were successful
- 97.7% of babies breastfeeding at 6 weeks postpartum
- Fewer than 5% of the births used Pitocin or epidural
- Low intrapartum and neonatal fetal death rate overall:
-2.06 per 1000 intended home births (includes all births)
-1.61 per 1000 intended home births excluding breech, vbac, twins, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.
-Low rate of low APGAR scores
These statistics prove that for low risk people, home birth is a safe and healthy choice to make. It also proves that when people become higher risk, midwives know when to transport in order to access the medical options that the pregnant person or baby needs.
Beyond the statistics here are more reasons for midwife-lead care and home birth:
- You cultivate a meaningful relationship with your care providers
- You have the best chance at breastfeeding (midwives see the new family at least 4 times in the first week to help with the transition into parenthood)
- You have the best chance at having a vbac
- The family is in the comfort of their home
- You participate in informed choice and shared decision making
- You are in control of who attends your birth and catches your baby
- Water birth is supported
- Birthing in the position you choose
- Moving, eating and drinking are encouraged during your labor and birth.
- Midwives spend time getting to know the pregnant person and their family
- Compassionate and heart centered care
- Lower risk of intervention
- Gentle newborn care
- Personal empowerment
You may be asking, what does midwifery care look like, and what makes it unique from routine OB care? As inspired by the International Confederation of Midwives: Midwifery care is holistic in nature, grounded in an understanding of the social, emotional, cultural, spiritual, psychological, and physical experiences of all humans. Ethical and competent midwifery care is informed and guided by formal and continuous education, scientific research, and application of evidence. Midwifery care is provided to clients on the basis of shared decision making and informed consent to all treatments.
Midwives follow a standard prenatal care schedule, and our appointments are an hour long. We provide continuous hands on support through labor and delivery and then keep a close eye on the new family postpartum by offering in-home visits on days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 2 clinic visits at 4 & 6 weeks. Our extensive postpartum care is one of the most beautiful and impactful aspects of midwifery; our clients are able to be in their own home healing, resting and nesting, with comprehensive lactation, newborn, and parenting support.
As midwives of your community, we see it as our responsibility to increase accessibility to our care, educate the community regarding their birthing options, and promote an attitude of trust and respect for the birthing process. Despite the encouraging statistics of midwife-led care, cost remains a huge barrier for many. Though midwifery services cost a fraction of standard OB care ($4K vs $10-$16K), insurance reimbursement for Registered Midwives is very limited, and coverage by Medicaid is non-existent for Registered Midwives in Colorado.
As you can imagine, poor, immigrant, and communities of color are those who have the least access to our care. And those are likely the communities which could greatly benefit from the comprehensive care of a midwife.
To increase access and educate our community, here’s what we’re up to at Community Roots. Currently, we are offering care on a sliding scale by providing 2 low-cost births/month to those in need. We hold bi-monthly community presentations regarding midwifery care and are present at community events such as Longmont’s Cinco De Mayo, Boulder/Longmont Pridefest, and Longmont Farmers Markets, spreading the word about midwifery care. We offer free, weekly lactation support groups at our classroom space in Longmont and we also teach low-cost childbirth education and breastfeeding classes quarterly.
We are committed to strengthening our local midwifery community. This past July we hosted a training for birth workers about providing culturally competent care for the LGBTQ community and we hope to continue hosting educational events such as this. Also, we recently hosted a screening of the film, “Why Not Home: The Surprising Birth Choices of Doctors and Nurses." The proceeds of this event were donated to the Colorado Midwives Association.
Our goals for the near future include:
- training midwives who represent under-served communities
-increasing the depth of our sliding scale
-hosting community clinics in which folks can access both midwifery care as well as reproductive health care and holistic therapies such as acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care for a minimal fee
-AND deepening the scope of our community education by hosting informational presentations at community centers and health clinics, with a focus on reaching out to our immigrant and teen populations.
A story from our midwife Lo:
"I’d like to leave you with a personal story of mine in which midwifery care greatly helped an immigrant family. A few years back, I was working as a medical assistant in a community health clinic in Boulder. There, I met a young woman Silvia from El Salvador, who was newly pregnant. Through our check-ins at her PN appointments, Silvia grew to trust me and was drawn to my midwifery insight. She began to confide in me that she was not feeling comfortable with the MD who was in charge of her care. There was a huge language barrier as the MD didn’t speak Spanish (I trained and practiced in many Spanish speaking countries/populations, so I was able to communicate with her clearly). She didn’t feel that she was in charge of her care. She felt uncomfortable that she only had 15 minute appointments and that she didn’t understand much of the information/choices presented to her. She didn’t feel her cultural practices and beliefs were being respected in the clinical setting. She was afraid of having an unnecessary C/S (at that time, the C/S rate at Boulder Community Hospital was 32%, well above the ideal rate of 10-15% as established by the World Health Organization (WHO). Luckily it has lowered to 26%), and her husband was nervous to be in a hospital setting as he didn’t speak any English. I explained more to her about what midwifery care looked like including informed decision making and hour-long prenatals, and what her birthing options could look like at home. The more we chatted, the more Silvia wanted to birth at home. She was healthy, had a low-risk pregnancy, and was a great candidate. There was one major barrier for them, however, in that they were insured by Medicaid and none of my services would be covered. I chose to offer her my services for $250. I knew she wanted to contribute something, but that she had very little to give. We started care at 28 weeks and spent many hours together, along with her husband, learning about what was important for them to feel safe birthing in the home setting. Silvia went on to have a beautiful, uncomplicated birth at home. She was able to move freely and eat in labor, which were very important to her. She and her husband felt heard and supported. They felt comfortable saying traditional prayers to their baby in the intimate first moments, and we followed traditional postpartum practices that Silvia knew about from her Grandmother. I continue to be in touch with this dear family and have witnessed them grow into proud and courageous parents. The three of us often reflect that the wisdom they gained through the birthing process birthed them into empowered parents."
In the interest of sustainability of midwifery as a profession as well as CRMC, it would be impossible for us to continue attending births for $250. However, it shouldn’t be impossible for healthy, low-risk individuals to access the care of a midwife if they so choose. That is why we’re here today, asking for your support of our collective, so that we can continue educating our community about their birthing options as well as finding a sustainable way to increase access to midwifery care. Many thanks for your attention and for your commitment to improving our community in all the ways you do. We are incredibly grateful! Please take a peek at our website to learn more about us!
How you can help:
- Donate to our fundraiser now to help us care for our community.
- Educate your community about home birth and midwives.
- Educate yourself about the health disparities that are in our country and your backyard.
- Refer people to our Meet the Midwife gatherings, our breastfeeding classes, and our other events.
- Stay informed about local politics regarding midwives and reproductive justice issues.
Special thanks to Monet Nichole for making our video and providing all of your support.