jamarah_amani.jpgMIAMI — Unlike a lot of people, Jamarah Amani knows that Oct. 6 – 12 is National Midwifery Week. The licensed midwife through the state of Florida says she believes in the power of birth and that every baby has a human right to be breastfed. Her mission is to do her part to build a movement for Birth Justice locally, nationally and globally.

A community organizer from a young age, Amani has worked with several organizations across the United States and in Africa on various public health issues, including HIV prevention, infant mortality risk reduction, access to emergency contraception and access to midwifery care.

She studied Africana Studies, Women’s Studies and Midwifery at centers of learning such as the University of Pennsylvania, Clark Atlanta University and most recently the International School of Midwifery. She also is a Certified Lactation Consultant.

In addition to teaching aspiring midwives and co-directing Mobile Midwife, a Miami-based nonprofit organization, Amani offers midwifery care, breastfeeding consultations and childbirth education to families in South Florida, and responded to a few questions about it:

Q: What is a midwife?

Midwife means “with woman.” Midwives are independent care providers for pregnant women, covering the spectrum from preconception to pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Midwives are experts in low risk pregnancy and natural birth. We work to meet their communities’ needs in homes, birth centers, clinics and hospital facilities.

Q: Do you accept Medicaid and insurance?

Yes. Open Hands Midwifery also offers affordable self-pay rates to those without insurance.

Q: Is it safe to birth at home with a midwife?

Many studies — and many years of wisdom and experience of our elder midwives — have demonstrated the benefits of midwifery. The midwifery model of care is both woman-centered and baby-friendly. Births attended by midwives have lower C-section rates, fewer complications and healthier outcomes than births attended by obstetricians.

Women who birth with midwives are more likely to receive information and support for breastfeeding, which is associated with healthier babies. A study of over 5000 births attended by midwives showed that home birth is safe and has less medical intervention than hospital deliveries. A free consultation will help determine if home birth is safe for you and your baby.

Q: Why did you choose the name Open Hands Midwifery?

Open Hands Midwifery is named after Biddy Mason, a midwife and nurse, who liberated herself and her entire plantation from slavery in the 1800s. One of her notable quotes is, “If you hold your hand closed nothing good can come in. The open hand is blessed for it gives in abundance as it receives.