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Understanding midwife practice limitations

| Feb 24, 2019 | Birth Injuries

While you no doubt are looking forward to the arrival of your new baby in Queens with a great deal of anticipation, you may not be so excited about the costs that will accompany their birth. The financial expense of childbirth may have you considering having a midwife handle your delivery. Yet before you choose to work with such a provider, you should understand exactly what the scope of their practice is. Many come to us here at Futterman, Sirotkin & Seinfeld LLP after experiencing complications with their deliveries who are later shocked to learn exactly how far their midwives overstepped their legal bounds. 

Midwives are permitted to manage normal pregnancies and offer general reproductive healthcare services to healthy women. They are not, however, trained to handle complex procedures related to pregnancy such as c-sections or delayed deliveries. Even those who have witnessed physicians handle pregnancy complications are not allowed to attempt any sort of surgical procedure in order to assist with delivery. In addition, while they are allowwed to deliver babies in designated birthing centers, they are to refer you to a hospital or medical center if complications arise with your delivery, or if you ask them to do so. 

For the reasons listed above, the New York State Office of the Professions requires that midwives maintain at least one of the following affiliations: 

  • With a licensed physician who has been certified as an obstetrician-gynecologist 
  • With a licensed physician who has obstetric privileges at a licensed hospital
  • With a hospital or medical center that provides obstetric care performed by licensed physicians

A failure to maintain such affiliations could prompt a midwife to attempt unauthorized practices, which would constitute unprofessional conduct. 

More information on dealing with the potential for provider error during delivery can be found here on our site. 

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