# Birth



Iowa Republicans fund anti-abortion clinics but not proven maternal health solutions

Iowa’s health and human services budget for the coming fiscal year includes a $500,000 appropriation for a new “maternal health” initiative modeled on an ineffective, wasteful Texas program.

But the bill, negotiated by House and Senate Republicans and approved on party-line votes in both chambers May 23, does not extend postpartum coverage for Iowans on Medicaid, a documented way to reduce maternal mortality.

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Midwifery licensure would improve maternal health, infant outcomes

Bethany Gates is a Certified Professional Midwife from Vinton (Benton County), where she lives with her husband, Judah, and their 4 daughters.

Certified Professional Midwives are midwives who practice in an out-of-hospital setting. Iowa CPMs attend home births; in other states, CPMs attend home births and births in birth centers. 

Here in Iowa, CPMs are unregulated, and the Iowa Code does not have any section addressing their practice. While this may sound like freedom in theory, the reality is that midwives face many challenges as they strive to provide quality care, because Iowa does not license the profession.

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Analysis: Five years of maternal health data in Iowa

Rachel Bruns is a volunteer advocate for quality maternal health care in Iowa.

I recently recounted how it took the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) 170 days to respond to my request for information on the total births, primary cesareans, total cesareans, and vaginal births after cesareans (VBACs) at Iowa hospitals. I eventually received aggregated five-year totals (2016 through 2020) for each birthing hospital in Iowa.

The International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) of Central Iowa, where I serve as a volunteer chapter leader, has made the data available on our website. You can see it in table form below as Appendix 1. 

While I would have preferred for IDPH to provide the figures for a single year, as I requested, the compiled data still tells us a lot about the overuse of cesareans at several Iowa hospitals and the lack of VBAC access across much of the state.

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State agency took 170 days to produce maternal health records

Rachel Bruns recounts the saga of trying to obtain records that the Iowa Department of Public Health could have provided promptly.

In an article I wrote for this website in January 2021, Provider practices in Iowa lead to more c-sections, complications, I mentioned that I had requested records from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) on the number of cesarean births and vaginal births after cesarean (VBACs) in Iowa hospitals.

A lot has happened related to my request since then. I’m summarizing my experience in case it can help other Iowans seeking what should be public information from a government entity.

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Provider practices in Iowa lead to more c-sections, complications

Rachel Bruns continues a series of posts addressing the quality of maternal health care in Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

My first post here addressed a number of outdated and non evidence based practices that continue in Iowa. My second post addressed how expanding access to midwives could help improve access to quality care, reduce the incidence of cesareans, and save lives.

This post will continue on those themes addressing additional practices of concern surrounding cesareans and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).

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Birthing a conference: A celebration of Black kin

Des Moines-based holistic doula and lactation counselor Olivia Samples first published this post on Kismet Doula Services’ blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

Last year I attended two conferences centered around Black Maternal Health. After the first one I attended, I had a dance party in my room to the playlist they sent us. The discussion, resources, and connection I got from this event totally filled my cup; left me energized and ready for more.

A few weeks later, during the second conference, I felt the anger rising from my gut into my face. I cried and stepped away after hearing so many statistics of the disparities for Black birthing people in Iowa. I learned a lot from other sessions throughout the conference, but at the end of the day, I closed my laptop, journaled, and took a nap.

Something that sticks out from the entry that day:

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