Strengthening Maternal & Infant Health, Sinema Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill Increasing Number of Trained Midwives in U.S.

Dec 15, 2022

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema cosponsored the Midwives for Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services (MOMS) Act – bipartisan legislation aimed at combating maternal and infant mortality and improving health outcomes by increasing the number of trained midwives in the United States.
“Midwives provide crucial care, comfort, and consultation to many new and expectant mothers in Arizona and across the country. Our bipartisan legislation expands educational opportunities to increase the number of midwives in the U.S. and diversify the maternal care workforce to better reflect the communities they serve,” said Sinema.
Sinema’s bipartisan Midwives for MOMS Act establishes grants for higher education institutions to create or expand midwifery programs like the University of Arizona’s new Nurse-Midwifery specialty program, which will prepare certified nurse-midwives to independently provide care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. The legislation would increase the number of certified nurse-midwives trained in Arizona, with incentives for students from medically underserved, tribal, and rural communities to stay in Arizona and practice midwifery.
The Midwives for MOMS Act comes as the U.S. experiences a maternal health crisis with the number of women who die from preventable childbirth-related reasons increasing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, maternal and infant mortality is higher for Black, Native American, and Hispanic communities compared to their white counterparts. Midwifery has been linked to healthy births for moms and babies – and can be especially helpful in communities where access to obstetrics and gynecology is difficult.
Access to prenatal and obstetric services are decreasing in rural areas due to closures of obstetric units and critical access hospitals. Several of Arizona’s counties have very few or even no obstetric providers, and nearly half of the women in some rural areas must travel for more than 30 minutes to receive maternity care.