MATERNIDAD LA LUZ
Maternidad La Luz is a community-based, Texas state-licensed birth center and a Texas Department of State Health Services approved midwifery school, accredited by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC). Since its inception in 1987, Maternidad La Luz (MLL) has been both a birth center and a school of midwifery, a dynamic partnership that benefits the birthing woman as well as the student. Maternidad La Luz clients receive excellent clinical care in a warm, supportive environment, and the students have outstanding midwifery education and training in a hands-on setting, supervised by the experienced Maternidad La Luz staff.
Through an integrated model of academic and clinical training, MLL offers a unique and holistic learning experience for aspiring midwives. The midwifery program, provided within a busy birthing center, allows students to solidify clinical skills while integrating their academic learning. A student at Maternidad La Luz begins learning midwifery theory and midwifery skills the first day of classes. Maternidad La Luz is the only MEAC-accredited school that provides all necessary clinical and academic requirements on-site for the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) Certified Professional Midwife credential (CPM) with no additional fees.
The school is located in a comfortable house in an historic neighborhood of El Paso. It has two classrooms, a library, the academic office, and a kitchen. The birth center is on the same block in a two-story house that includes three birthing rooms, a kitchen, a waiting room, two consultation rooms, and all equipment and supplies necessary to provide midwifery and well-woman care. The center provides a warm, welcoming, homelike atmosphere for birthing women in Western Texas, Southern New Mexico, and Mexico.
The border between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez is very fluid with people frequently crossing back and forth. MLL clients who are residents of Mexico have a laser visa, a legal document created to facilitate access to El Paso goods and services. Mexican nationals comprise a large percentage of the population of El Paso. As a result, about ninety-five percent of women who come to Maternidad La Luz speak primarily Spanish. Many people living in the border region have no medical insurance and limited or no access to medical care. Maternidad La Luz is able to provide low cost, high quality care for all pregnant women in the community, regardless of nationality or residency status.
The staff and students at Maternidad La Luz care for approximately 40 to 60 birthing women a month. Since 1987, they have attended over 13,000 births at the center. Women from the ages of twelve to forty-six have had satisfying, natural birth experiences. The majority of clients are Mexican or Mexican-American who choose MLL based on the recommendation of family and friends who have previously given birth at the center. Other reasons include:
• a long-standing tradition of midwifery in Mexico
• a desire for woman-centered and women-attended care
• a belief in the normalcy and naturalness of birth and motherhood
• economic considerations
• a desire for US citizenship for their children.
Deborah Kaley, Director of Maternidad La Luz, has been practicing midwifery since 1981. She has worked with a diverse bicultural clientele in many settings, from busy birth centers to a rural home birth practice. Over the years she has attracted a dedicated and skilled staff of midwives and academic instructors. They bring their enthusiasm, life experience, expertise and skills to enrich the learning experience of students.
Since March 1987, more than 500 students from over a dozen countries have received professional midwifery training at Maternidad La Luz and are now providing birthing alternatives to women worldwide. Maternidad La Luz’s intense, highly challenging program results in skilled, ethical, and confident midwives who are ready to practice independently or join established midwifery practices.