As one of the mothers quoted in the Nov. 23 Mountain Xpress Wellness article, "Mother Knows Best?" I feel the need to clarify and correct a quote attributed to me that stated childbirth was "dangerous."
During my conversation with the reporter, Caitlin Byrd, I attempted to convey to her why hundreds of people in our community feel access to midwives, and access to the MAHEC midwives specifically, is important. Women like me seek out midwifery care during pregnancy because we believe childbirth is a natural process that benefits from as few interventions as possible. Midwives provide individualized prenatal care and hands-on support during labor and delivery that, statistics show, decreases the chances of medical interventions and C-sections and increases the number of healthy natural births.
That being said, complications and emergencies do arise during pregnancy and birth. I can personally attest to this. What makes the MAHEC midwives unique, and important to our community, is that they offer a model of care that bridges midwifery with a more medically based model. For women who are considered "high risk," having access to midwives while having the backup of OB/GYNs and maternal fetal specialists means they too can increase their chances for having a natural birth with as few interventions as possible. It is worth mentioning again that the MAHEC midwives are nationally recognized for their rates of VBAC (vaginal birth after a cesarean).
Under the changes announced by MAHEC, women will still have access to midwives for pre- and post-natal care. But because MAHEC is ending 24-hour call for midwives, women can no longer be assured that a midwife will be present at the most critical time — when the patient is actually giving birth. I think this is a great loss, both for the midwives and for their patients.
— Erin Salkin
Mamas for MAHEC Midwives
Caitlin Byrd responds: When writing about the changes to the MAHEC midwifery program, I spoke to many mothers about what these changes would mean for them and also about their opinions on childbirth. From this, I gathered that many women in Western North Carolina choose MAHEC’s midwifery care because it is less interventionist in its nature. I take very diligent notes and do my best to make sure I get quotes correct, and I apologize to Erin Salkin for using a quote regarding childbirth being dangerous. When I chose this quote from our interview, it was not my intention to perpetuate an idea that childbirth is dangerous, but that childbirth is natural, as Salkin said.