Letters to the Editor

Health: Midwives ease doctor shortage

I would like to add an addition to your July 16 story concerning baby doctors on Whidbey Island. While it is true we will be down to one doctor, which is a great loss to the community, we are up to two Washington State Licensed Midwives! I, Cynthia Jaffe, LM, have been delivering babies on Whidbey since 1990 and, according to the Washington State Department of Heath Statistics, deliver between 20 to 30 percent of all babies born in Island County. I have been joined by Janette Gyesky, LM, a recent graduate of the Seattle Midwifery School and we are ready to serve the families of Whidbey Island!

A midwife is recognized throughout the world as the most appropriate maternity care provider for most women. Midwives are specialists in normal reproductive care. During their education, midwives become experts in normal pregnancy, birth and newborn care. The modern midwife is trained to recognize abnormal conditions and refer to the appropriate provider. Midwives worldwide have an excellent record of safety with numerous studies showing midwifery care leading to excellent outcomes. In the five nations with the lowest infant mortality rates and lowest rates of technological intervention, midwives attend 70 percent of all births without a physician in the birth room.

The United States and Canada are the only countries in the world where midwives are not the main providers of maternity care. However, in both countries, the number of midwifery attended births is growing rapidly. The World Health Organization and the International Childbirth Education Association recommend that healthy pregnant women seek out midwives as their maternity care providers. Midwifery care is safe and satisfying. In a recent study published by the British Journal of Medicine, (BMJ. 2005 Jun 18;330(7505):1416), the authors examined home births versus hospital births for low risk women. They concluded, after looking at over 5000 home and free-standing birth center births, that there was no rise in risk for women choosing out of hospital birth with a trained attendant. In fact, the out of hospital birth mothers had significantly less intervention and higher satisfaction rates.

So, come for a free consultation visit and learn what midwifery care is all about.

Cynthia Jaffe

Licensed Midwife


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