# Health



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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COVID-19 divisions undermine support for other vaccinations

Governor Kim Reynolds and top Republican lawmakers have repeatedly bragged about protecting Iowans’ freedom not to get vaccinated for COVID-19, saying that getting a shot should be a matter of personal choice and not government mandate.

Now the latest Iowa Poll by Selzer & Co indicates that support for other required childhood vaccinations has dropped sharply since the last time Iowans were surveyed on the issue.

Republican respondents in particular are now less likely to support mandatory vaccinations against diseases like polio and the measles—a finding that suggests the misinformation campaign some have waged against COVID-19 vaccines has affected how many conservatives view all immunizations. When Selzer asked Iowans a similar question in 2015, there was no significant difference in views based on political affiliation.

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Vaxxing, Trump, and JFK

Dan Piller reviews presidential attitudes toward public health and physical fitness.

If you needed a good laugh during the hassle of Christmas weekend, one could be had by watching the sudden fracture of Donald Trump and the nation’s anti-vaccine cult. This surprising development came about during a Trump podcast interview with Candace Owens, for whom no conspiracy theory is too outrageous.

Trump and Owens should have enjoyed a convivial chit-chat, but the former president took issue with Owens’ anti-vaccine sentiments. Trump’s Operation Warp Speed initiative to give us COVID-19 vaccines was arguably the highlight of his otherwise inept presidency. Even President Joe Biden has praised it.

Owens uncharitably attributed Trump’s pro-vaccine sentiment to his being “too old” to find websites that give alternatives to vaccinations, which probably will prove sufficient for her to be turned away for good at the Mar-a-Lago main gate.

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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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Iowa needs more midwives to save lives

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

This article is all about midwives. I will be using this space to expand on four different needs in our state to improve the access and quality of maternal-child health care in Iowa. All of them are interrelated. If Iowa accomplishes these four things, we will see an improvement in maternal-child health outcomes across all races, accessibility of care options in all geographies, and an overall increase in quality and satisfaction from patients. 

The four areas I will address are:

  • The need to diversify our workforce and address birth equity (this is connected to the next 2 items)
  • The need to license Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs)
  • The need to expand access to Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs).
  • The need to expand access to birth centers.
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