TRAVERSE CITY — A deadline for the licensing of Michigan midwives is approaching.

The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) will require midwives to have a license to practice in the state on Aug. 1. LARA began accepting license applications on May 6.

Certified Professional Midwife Robin Lavis, of Kalkaska’s Blessings of the Womb, LLC, said the licensing mandate will have little effect. Lavis said the Michigan Midwives Association helped drive the regulatory changes.

“We’re the ones that asked to do it,” Lavis said.

Kathi Mulder, of Dance of Life Midwifery in Traverse City, helped draft some of the language for the new regulations.

The push to license midwives in the state is not new. A midwife license bill passed the Michigan House of Representatives in the first half of 2016. HB 4598 was signed into state law by then Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on Jan. 3, 2017.

Lavis said she’s ready to meet the Aug. 1 deadline. She said she’s already certified by the Michigan Midwives Association and the Midwives Alliance of North America.

“From my viewpoint, the rules and regs that I know so far are how I’ve been practicing anyway and I’ve been practicing in the state of Michigan for almost 30 years,” she said.

After the administrative rules take effect, “an individual may not engage in the practice of midwifery unless licensed,” according to a release from LARA. Those who practice without a license after Aug. 1 may be in violation of the Public Health Code.

Lavis said the licensing requirement will limit those leading births who may lack important knowledge like infant CPR.

“It will weed out the romantics that have been to a birth and want to help out their girlfriend,” Lavis said.

LARA defines the practice of midwifery as “providing maternity care that is consistent with a midwife’s training, education and experience, to women and neonates during the antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum periods.”

Information on obtaining a midwife license and a link to applying online is available at https://bit.ly/32e5AnE. The website also has a video on how to register for an account through the Michigan Professional Licensing User System.