- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 9, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas midwife is appealing a finding that she violated a new state regulation that requires vaginal exams for pregnant women who wish to give birth at home.

The state Department of Health in October began requiring vaginal exams as part of the pregnancy health assessments, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The assessments are meant to determine whether the mother has any medical conditions that would make giving birth at home dangerous or require consultation with a doctor.

Some women who argue that the exam is invasive and unnecessary have agreed to submit to it anyway, while other women have refused.

Midwife Mary Alexander was found to be in violation of the rules after she delivered a baby in November for a client who refused an exam.

Some midwives say that some of their dropped clients have gone on to give birth at home without assistance. Alexander said she won’t abandon her clients.

“We don’t think that these vaginal exams are necessary,” Alexander said. “They don’t give information that would declare the woman high risk for home delivery or not.”

A committee of the state Board of Health will hear her appeal of the rule violation finding on Thursday.

William Greenfield is the medical director for the Health Department’s family health services. He said the rule was created by a panel of nurse practitioners to ensure standard practice across health units statewide.

“This is about our health care consumers - that they get a standard and safe health experience,” Greenfield said.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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