castro midwives 102021SPRINGFIELD – A landmark plan to protect pregnant mothers by setting standards for the qualifications and education of midwives in Illinois sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro (D- Elgin) passed the Senate Wednesday.

“Midwives play a huge role in many women’s pregnancies, from providing care and guidance before pregnancy all the way to postpartum care,” Castro said. “Making sure these health care providers have proper education and training will ensure that women are in the best hands at a vital time in their and their babies’ lives.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, more soon-to-be mothers have opted out of a traditional hospital birth and have turned to home births, where midwives assist in the birthing process.

Currently, 25 states recognize certified professional midwives as health care professionals who can supervise home births. Illinois does not currently recognize CPMs, as the occupation does not require a nursing degree. Instead, the state only recognizes certified nurse midwives who are advanced-practice registered nurses. 

This legislation, House Bill 3401, will create the Licensed Certified Professional Midwife Practice Act to set standards for the qualifications, education, training and experience of people who seek to be licensed as certified professional midwives.

“This legislation has been 43 years in the making, and the pandemic has highlighted the importance of ensuring safe home births for mothers who want them,” said Bukola Bello, a representative of Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives. “Midwives play a unique role in making sure our mothers and babies are safe throughout the entire pregnancy, and by certifying professional midwives in Illinois, we are finally recognizing the important work they do.” 

HB 3401 passed the Senate today and now moves to the House for further consideration.