The state of Alabama has issued its first licenses to out-of-hospital midwives since 1976.
Al.com reports the newly-formed Alabama State Board of Midwifery approved the licensing of five certified professional midwives on Friday. It is illegal to practice unlicensed midwifery in Alabama. For decades, the lack of licensing effectively outlawed lay midwifery in the state.
But back in 2017, state lawmakers voted to legalize midwifery, and the State Board of Midwifery began accepting license applications last year. Board member Kaycee Cavender says she's been pleasantly surprised at the number of licensing applicants.
Certified professional midwives differ from certified nurse midwives, which are registered nurses who work in hospitals and medical clinics. Certified professional midwives are accredited through a testing and apprenticeship process and can attend low-risk births in out-of-hospital settings.