Monday, April 28, 2008
AUGUSTA, Maine - Gv. John Baldacci on Wednesday signed into law a measure that authorizes Maine pharmacists to provide certain medications to certified professional midwives for administration to mothers and newborns during home births.
Certified midwives — sometimes referred to as "lay" midwives to distinguish them from registered nurses with additional midwifery credentials — typically help women deliver their babies safely at home rather than in a hospital or other medical setting.
The medications specified in the new law include drugs that induce labor, injectable vitamin K to control bleeding, antibiotic eye drops for newborns, numbing agents to reduce discomfort when repairing skin tears after delivery, and oxygen. Midwives often obtain these medications from pharmacies through "friendly" doctors who write prescriptions for them or other means. The new law is intended to grant them the autonomy of purchasing the drugs independently.