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Community Service

“This baby won’t wait”

Pregnancies cannot be arbitrarily extended until legislation and regulation catch up to the demand for licensed midwives to attend home births. With the lack of available midwives, families choosing to birth outside the hospital are seeking as much information as possible to handle emergencies on their own. Others are traveling potentially long distances during labor to meet their midwife across state lines. Both approaches increase the probability that EMTs and other volunteer first responders will find themselves in an out of hospital birth emergency.

Systematic approaches to birth emergencies like Advanced Life Support Obstertics (ALSO) and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) have improved the quality of care in hospitals. A similar approach to ALSO and NRP that is specific to home birth is being made available to parents and interested volunteer EMT, first responders and community members.

Tailored to the needs of the group, this four to six hour Birth Emergency Management Skills workshop will cover the emergency situations most common to out-of-hospital births: shoulder dystocia (stuck shoulders), tight nuchal cord (cord around the neck), post birth bleeding, and resuscitation of a baby who does not breathe after birth. The workshop content is inspired by, but not endorsed by, Advanced Life Support Obstetrics and the Neonatal Resuscitation Program.

In this course the skills taught in ALSO and NRP have been adapted to the out-of- hospital setting and to non-medical providers such as parents, friends, and family members who are assisting at a planned home birth where no midwife is available. First responders, aspiring midwives, EMTs, or other members of the healthcare team whose experience with birth is limited to the hospital setting will learn structured methods for dealing with emergencies in out-of-hospital childbirth. Live presentations, videos, and discussions will be coupled with practice sessions using simulations and mannequins.

South Dakota babies born at home are at risk due to a lack of legally sanctioned, qualified birth attendants such as midwives. Certified Professional Midwives are the only nationally credentialed birth attendants with training required in the management of childbirth emergencies outside of the hospital; but Certified Professional Midwives currently may not legally assist at births in South Dakota. South Dakota law permits family members of the parents to assist at a homebirth, though few parents have family members who are trained for such a role. This workshop is not a substitute for formal training in obstetrics or midwifery, instead it aims to support parents, family and community members to survive emergencies when experienced, qualified providers are not available.

Email skillsworkshop@SDdocsformidwives.org for information about bringing the Birth Emergency Management Skills workshop to your community.