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For Healthcare Professionals

Licensed Midwifery, as defined in RCW 18.50, is an autonomous profession. Licensed midwives work interdependently with one another and with other health care practitioners to promote the optimal health and safety of low-risk mothers and babies during the normal childbearing cycle. LMs in Washington State have a duty to consult with licensed allopathic or osteopathic physicians whenever there are significant deviations from normal in either the mother or the infant. For more information about this legal requirement and about the history of midwife-physician relations in WA state, click here.

To visit the Washington State Department of Health page listing RCWs and WACs relating to Midwifery, click here.

To read the MAWS Indications for Discussion, Consultation and Transfer of Care in an Out-of-Hospital Midwifery Practice, click here.

To read about the MAWS Planned Out-of-Hospital Transport Guidelines (Updated Feb 2011) - click here.

Consider taking action to improve transports to your hospital. The Physician-Midwife Workgroup and subcommittee of the Washington State Perinatal Collaborative has developed a quality improvement project for adaptation to individual hospitals. Learn more about "Smooth Transitions: Enhancing the Safety of Planned Out-of-Hospital Birth Transports - A Quality Improvement Initiative of the Washington State Perinatal Collaborative" through the Project Manual or by visiting the WSPC website.

Washington state law requires Licensed Midwives to complete 3 years in a state-approved midwifery educational program, which includes participation in 100 or more births and verification of clinical skills and didactic course work. To attain licensure, all LMs must pass a national and a state examination.

Models of collaborative care between LMs and CNMs as well as between LMs and physicians are alive and well in WA state. To read more about these models, click here.

LMs also work closely with allied birth professionals in their local community including birth doulas, postpartum doulas, childbirth educators, lactation consultants, birth assistants, La Leche League Leaders and more. For more information about Allied Birth Vocations, click here.

Other Midwives who also attend births in the home and freestanding birth center setting in WA state include some Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) and "ND, LMs" who are Naturopathic Doctors in addition to being Licensed Midwives (LMs) . Many of these midwives are also members of MAWS because they also practice independently as primary maternity care providers.