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  • Writer's pictureSandy Glenn, LM MBC

10 Common MYTHS about … South Carolina Licensed Midwives and Birth Centers

MYTH 1: If you choose to use a Licensed Midwives (LM) you will also need to see an Obstetrician.

In South Carolina, Licensed Midwives or LM’s, are considered independent practitioners. This is ideal for families because it means that the LM will be helping you make the decisions about your care. Although LM’s follow state guidelines, an LM does not have a physician dictating her regulations. Because she is an independent practitioner, the LM can make choices based upon the individual circumstances and needs of the pregnant mother or baby. ‘One-size does not fit all’ when it comes to pregnancy, and LM care is individually specific to each family.

MYTH 2: Requirements for using a Licensed Midwife or Birth Center are so strict that over 30% of women do not qualify and are considered “High Risk.”

Healthy moms that eat well, exercise and have healthy babies qualify for Licensed Midwifery care. As long as you do not have chronic health conditions or require daily medications; you are likely to qualify for LM care. It’s always best to join your Licensed Midwife early in pregnancy so that she can help you learn ways of staying healthy (“low risk”). You will need a good food-based prenatal vitamin, a moderate exercise program and be ready to drink plenty of water. With healthy lifestyle adjustments, most women who begin with a Licensed Midwife are able to continue their care until delivery.

MYTH 3: Birth Centers are required to give a shot of Pitocin after every birth.

Licensed Midwives are prepared with the uterine medication Pitocin (Oxytocin) for emergencies, but since LM clients are a low-risk category, Pitocin is rarely necessary. LM’s would never use Pitocin to induce a woman into labor, but the medication is a valuable tool only when necessary to stop postpartum bleeding.

MYTH 4: Group B Strep testing and IV anti-biotics for positive results are required.

Although many moms choosing to use an LM for delivery may choose to get the GBS testing and treat if positive, like many other pregnancy test, the GBS is an optional test when you are using a LM and have no symptoms.

MYTH 5: It’s illegal to decline medications like Erythromycin eye ointment, Vitamin K and Hepatitis B for the baby.

SC laws do require eye ointment for newborns, but LMs encourage families to make informed decisions about their care and they may sign a waiver for Erythromycin if they are opposed to its use. There are no SC laws regarding vitamin K or Hepatitis B injections for babies.

MYTH 6: Licensed Midwives are the same as “lay” midwives.

Licensed Midwives have a SC license granted to them by The Department of Health and Environmental Control. Before they can apply for a license, the LM must complete a national certification from NARM (National Association of Registered Midwives) and have a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) credential. “Lay” midwives would technically have no training. Now that the CPM credential is available nationwide, consumers in every state have some access to CPM’s. In SC, Licensed Midwifery status is required by DHEC and for insurance claim reimbursement.

MYTH 7: A Doula and a Midwife are almost the same.

Although a doula is an important team member for birth and they often work with midwives, the two professions serve distinctly different functions. Doulas are helpers who provide support without any clinical assistance. They would not take your blood pressure or listen to your baby’s heart. They have no training in delivering babies, but provide the much needed support to both parents and the baby.

MYTH 8: I can’t use INSURANCE if I’m using a Licensed Midwife or Birth Center.

Most insurance covers midwifery care, but you may need to request a prior authorizations or GAP exception. The midwife will be able to help you with this paperwork. Since In-network benefits are only available to physicians in SC, you will need insurance that has both ‘IN’ and ‘OUT’ of Network coverage. Overall the LM fee is lower than hospital care and you may find that even the ‘OUT’ of network benefit will cost you less than using an ‘IN’ network provider. This is especially true if you have a high deductible.

MYTH 9: I will need to file for my own Birth Certificate and Social Security Card if I use a Licensed Midwife.

Just like every birth provider in SC, LM’s file for your birth certificate and Social Security card for you. You will be given paperwork at the birth requesting complete information on the mother and father and the midwife is required to maintain these records for an extensive amount of time.

MYTH 10: Your baby will need to see a Pediatrician ASAP if you deliver with a Licensed Midwife.

At the birth, the LM will do your newborn exam including weight and reflexes. If there are any concerns, she will refer you automatically to a physician. The midwife also does follow-up care over the next few day and emphasizes good breastfeeding techniques. Just like families leaving the hospital, LM’s would recommend that you begin your baby’s physician care within two weeks of birth.

Schedule your birth with a Licensed Midwife at a Private Birth Center now. Free Tours are also available.


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