As of 2009, midwives are involved in about seven percent of all births in the United States. Though women may turn to midwives and birth centers to avoid the clinical setting or medical interventions associated with a hospital birth, a midwife is still a medical professional. This requires that you plan your business carefully to protect both your patients and yourself.
Before you start a midwifery practice, you must have the proper training and certification. A direct entry midwife (DEM) has training only through apprenticeships and community based training, not through traditional nursing education. A Certified Midwife (CM) holds a B.A. degree, has scientific training, has completed a midwifery course and passed the CM certification exam. A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) has completed a midwifery course in addition to the training required to become a registered nurse (RN).
Hire a lawyer to help you with the legal aspects. Find a lawyer that can help you with the legal side of your business, such as staying up to date with regulations and writing contracts to use with your patients.
Talk to an insurance provider about malpractice insurance. Although you may not want to think about anything bad happening, sometimes mistakes happen. Malpractice insurance will protect you should one of your patients sue the business. Prepare to pay hefty premiums for malpractice insurance, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Find a building to hold your birthing center. Unless you want to focus solely on home births, a birthing center is central to your business. Look for a location that is accessible. The building should be large and you should design the interior to be a welcoming place to give birth.
Purchase all necessary equipment. You'll need to stock your birthing center with beds, birthing pools, medical equipment and other tools that are essential to the trade.
Consider accreditation. The American Association of Birth Centers accredits birthing centers, signifying that they meet the Association's standards. This accreditation can be a comfort to potential customers.
Advertise for customers. Place ads in local newspapers to get customers. You'll also want to create a Web site and make sure that it places high in the search engine. Another way that you can get customers is to hold a free birthing seminar that teaches about midwifery and why it's a safe alternative.
Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.