Stricter rules for Idaho midwives

The Idaho Board of Midwifery has updated its rules on newborn care.

The administrative rules, which must be approved by the Legislature, say midwives must immediately transfer newborns to the hospital for emergency care if they have any signs of distress, including respiratory distress, an Apgar score of 6 or lower, seizure-like activity or skin lesions. The rules also require midwives to consult physicians for certain conditions, including any birth-related injuries, jaundice, murmurs or congenital abnormalities.

In 2010 and 2011, three babies died at one Meridian midwifery center, resulting in license suspension for two midwives. The Idaho Midwifery Council supports requiring licensing for midwives, saying it brings the practice into the open and improved care for babies and mothers, according to the Northwest News Network. 

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