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Midwifery Law in California as of January 1, 2014
As of January 1, 2014, with the passage of California Assembly Bill No. 1308, the responsibilities and rights of Licensed Midwives in California were amended. While midwives in California have been able to obtain licensure through the Medical Board of California since 1995, the Licensing Law also required Licensed Midwives to obtain physician supervision. Supervision by a physician was untenable and created an obstacle to practicing midwifery legally as well as to accepting state-sponsored health insurance, or Medi-Cal.
With the implementation of AB1308, Licensed Midwives in California are no longer required to obtain physician supervision. Additionally, the law clarified that Licensed Midwives could “directly obtain supplies and devices, obtain and administer drugs and diagnostic tests, order testing, and receive reports that are necessary to the practice of midwifery and consistent with his or her scope of practice.” Finally, the law clarified Licensed Midwives’ Scope of Practice to define Normal pregnancy and childbirth as meeting all of the following conditions:
1. There is an absence of any preexisting maternal disease or condition likely to affect the pregnancy.
2. There is an absence of significant disease arising from the pregnancy.
3. There is a singleton fetus.
4. There is a cephalic presentation.
5. The gestational age of the fetus is greater than 37 0⁄7 weeks and less than 42 0⁄7 completed weeks of pregnancy.
6. Labor is spontaneous or induced in an outpatient setting.
Currently, Licensed Midwives are held by the Medical Board to the STANDARD OF CARE FOR CALIFORNIA LICENSED MIDWIVES. The editing of these standards of care is currently taking place, as of this writing, to adhere to the changes in statute created by AB1308. For up-to-date information about Licensed Midwives’ Requirements for Licensure and the Scope of Practice for a Licensed Midwife, visit: http://www.mbc.ca.gov/Licensees/Midwives/Midwives_Practice_Act.aspx
Kayti Buehler, LM, CPM