Serving the Community since 1977
New Mexico has a rich history of community midwifery. Midwives have always been an integral part of New Mexico’s health care system. The New Mexico Midwives Association (NMMA) incorporated in 1977 to insure women’s access to safe and personalized care throughout all the cycles of their lives. The NMMA has worked consistently to enable licensed midwives to attend the births of thousands of New Mexican babies with excellent outcomes.
What do we do?
- Work cooperatively with midwives throughout the state of New Mexico to establish a strong network for upholding the midwifery model of care.
- Develop and carry out continuing educational forums to promote excellence in midwifery.
- Promote the training of professional midwives and birth attendants.
- Work with citizens groups to advocate for midwifery care.
- Advocate for access to midwifery care through the legislative process.
- Educate the public on the safety and importance of midwifery care and out-of-hospital birth.
A Brief History of Midwifery in New Mexico
Of course midwives have been attending New Mexican Women in pregnancy and birth for all of time. We have a rich history of curanderas, parteras and midwives. However, a reliable written record of midwives attending births here has only been kept since the late 1920s. Some amazing accomplishments have been recorded in that time.
In 1936 San Miguel county (Las Vegas) parteras attended 701 of the 972 births (72%) . In 1944 the Department of Health first regulated the practice of midwifery and midwifery has remained within the public health domain since that time. In that same year the Catholic Maternity Institute opened in Santa Fe, providing prenatal, birth center and home birth services to women . In 1975 midwives became licensed to practice in the state. In 1989 the National College of Midwifery was founded as collaboration between the NM Midwives Association and the Northern NM Midwifery Center .
NM is a model state, currently licensing 74 midwives some of whom hold NM licenses while working in states that have no licensure or abroad. Approximately half of us are in active practice catching about 300 babies a year or 1.3% of the live births. This rate has held steady for roughly 10 years. We are a steadfast presence in NM serving moms and babies with our hearts and hands.
Spidel, J., (1986), Doctors of medicine in New Mexico; a history of health and medical practice 1886-1986, University of New Mexico Press.
Ortiz, F., (2005), History of midwifery in New Mexico; Partnership between Curandera-parteras and the New Mexico Department of Health, Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 50(3), 411-417.
Introduction to the National College of Midwifery, retrieved 9/2/2010 from http://www.midwiferycollege.org/AboutUs.htm.