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DeKalb woman accused of unlicensed midwifery

DeKalb County prosecutors have accused a 55-year-old St. Joe woman of helping deliver babies without a midwife’s license.

Barbara S. Parker told an investigator that she assisted in 48 deliveries in 2012 and that she has averaged 60 to 70 deliveries a year over the past five years, according to court papers.

Parker faces three felony counts of practicing midwifery without a license. The charges stem from three deliveries she performed in early August.

On Aug. 2, Parker served as a midwife for a woman who had trouble delivering her baby, so Parker took her to DeKalb Health hospital in Auburn, court papers stated.

The next day, Parker helped another woman deliver a baby, which was not breathing and had no pulse. The baby was taken to a hospital and eventually died, court papers said.

On Aug. 7, Parker was acting as a midwife for a woman delivering twins. One of the twins was born, but the second was only partially delivered. The mother was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, and the second baby was delivered through a cesarean section but did not survive, according to court papers.

Practicing midwifery – helping mothers give birth, often at home – is illegal in Indiana except for nurse-midwives. This means a registered nurse who has graduated from a nationally accredited school of midwifery, passed the national certifying examination given by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, and is licensed by the state nursing board to practice as a nurse-midwife.

In this legislative session, the Indiana House passed a bill that would allow those with less medical training to become midwives through a national certification process. The Senate must now consider the bill.

Parker told the investigator that she was licensed as a midwife in Colorado, court papers stated. Her license as a direct-entry midwife expired in 1994, according to the state of Colorado website. A direct-entry midwife receives training by entering directly into midwifery education rather than a nursing program.

Parker was released Saturday from the DeKalb County Jail after posting a $10,000 bond.