In addition to being Elegant Mommy’s “online face”, I am also a doula, birth activist, and plan to soon begin training to become a certified childbirth educator. Now, when I say “birth activist”, I know that can have a negative connotation to some people. Let me just clarify what I mean. I am *passionate* about helping women and families understand and know that they have CHOICES in their birth plans. I am really an activist for “educated birthing”. I want to help women and families know that they don’t have to just do whatever their provider tells them to do. It’s the provider’s responsibility to tell pregnant and laboring women what their choices are and perhaps even what they would recommend…not tell them what to do. It is the pregnant woman’s responsibility to be educated and informed about what they want and what they don’t want. If their provider doesn't tell them all the information they need to make an educated decision, they need to know the right questions to ask to get their answers. I help them with that.
In addition to that, I have gotten involved with the politics of birth in South Dakota. Now, I can go on and on about the political aspect of things and what our laws are, who has the most influence and seems to “run it all”, etc., but I really want to focus on something in the political realm that is extremely positive for birthing families in this state right now.
This year the state legislature *passed* a bill that will allow Birth Centers to be licensed here! That is HUGE and wonderfully exciting for families here!!
The first draft of regulations for this bill was released recently, and on Wednesday, I had the pleasure to attend the Public Hearing for input on these regulations in Pierre. There were several Certified NurseMidwives in attendance, as well as a representative from South Dakota SafeChildbirth Options, and myself. I spoke on behalf of the American Associationof Birth Centers (AABC); as a South Dakota member of the AABC, and also a member of their national Birth Center Licensure Working Group, I was honored to submit comments on their behalf. There were also several representatives from the medical community – Medical Association, Nursing Association, and Hospital Association, as well as the two gentlemen who put the rules together from the Department of Health.
Overall, there was wonderful discussion between all parties about some clarification in the rules, as well as recommendations from the parties in attendance. The Department of Health, who is responsible for coming up with workable rules, listened to all suggestions and recommendations, and I am confident will make positive changes to the rules based on input from everyone. There was definitely an air of solidarity in that we all want the same thing – more birth options for South Dakota families. Even if we didn’t all agree with *everything* that was suggested, we were all basically on the same page and really just want Birth Centers to be a viable birth option for South Dakota families.
Though there’s still more work to be done, I’m very happy to report that we are one step closer to more healthy and safe birth options here!
By Evie DeWitt