In a new piece for Deseret News, writer Sofia Jeremias chronicles the impact of midwives in small, rural communities in the Pacific Northwest.

“As obstetrics care becomes increasingly difficult to access — financially and geographically — and parents choose what they want their birth experience to be, midwives may provide a level of care for families living in rural America that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to at all,” wrote Jeremias.

As rural hospitals close around the country, expectant mothers still need pre- and post-birth care. Many midwives are now certified, and practice as nurse-midwives or professional midwives in all 50 states. But the topic of home birth versus hospital birth remains a divisive issue.