2020: Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

Celebrate the Magic of Midwifery

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife (2020 YNM). To say we’re ecstatic about this designation is an understatement, especially since it speaks to the professions we so proudly represent. The WHO 2020 YNM designation comes at both an opportune and critical time and provides us with a unique opportunity to inform the public about the magic of midwifery-led care as provided by certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs).

It’s no secret that the United States is in the midst of a growing maternal health crisis. Maternal mortality rates continue to rise in the U.S. while decreasing globally. More women die from pregnancy-related complications in the U.S. than in any other developed country, and the rate of preventable maternal deaths continues to rise. Major disparities in maternal mortality exist, with black women three to four times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to die during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Moreover, for every maternal death that occurs, an estimated 100 other women suffer severe complications of pregnancy or childbirth. There are many factors contributing to these statistics, including a shortage of qualified maternal and women’s clinicians.

Better integration of midwives and the midwifery model of care into health systems is fundamental to reducing primary and maternity care provider shortages, improving maternal health outcomes and addressing racial and ethnic inequality deeply rooted in our country’s foundation.

ACNM works to support the practice of midwives by promoting accredited education, research, and advocacy that advances clinical excellence and the expansion of a diverse midwifery workforce. Through initiatives such as the Healthy Birth Initiative: Reducing Primary Cesareans Project and our role in developing interprofessional education (IPE) models that lead to an increase in the interprofessional maternity workforce, ACNM is working to promote optimal pregnancy, physiologic birth, postpartum care, expand access to midwives and brand midwifery care as an important option for healthcare services throughout the lifespan.

At this year’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition, we’re looking forward to celebrating the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife and the magic of midwifery!