What is a Midwife?

A Midwife, meaning ‘with woman,’ is a health care practitioner who provides evidence-based maternity care services to women during the childbearing years. She/he specializes in normal, low risk pregnancies, childbirth, breastfeeding and the postpartum period and is trained to recognize variations and deviations from normal. Often, midwives also provide primary care services such as annual gynecological exams, well-woman visits, STI testing, preconception counseling, family planning and menopausal support.

What is the difference between a Certified Professional Midwife, Certified Nurse Midwife or Obstetrician?

Certified Professional Midwife monitoring baby's heartbeatA Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is a direct-entry midwife who has met standards and achieved certification through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). CPM’s are qualified to provide the midwifery model of care and primarily, attend home births. The CPM credential is the only international documentation that proves the provider has knowledge and experience in out-of-hospital settings, continuity of care, and risk assessment skills, which are necessary when referral, collaboration or consultation becomes necessary. CPM’s are not able to prescribe most medications. CPM’s are specialists in normal pregnancy and birth. The CPM accepts clients who meet specific low risk criteria.

A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is an advanced practice nurse who has achieved certification through a program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (AMCB) and the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). CNM’s provide general women’s health care throughout the life span. They work in many different settings, including hospitals and birth centers. Some CNM’s offer home birth. CNM’s are able to prescribe some medications.

An Obstetrician (OB) is a medical physician, most often a surgeon, who has completed specialized training and provides medical and surgical care to women. They have particular expertise in pregnancy, childbirth and disorders of the reproductive system. OB’s work almost exclusively in the hospital setting.

The Midwives Model of Care™ includes:

Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
• Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during the labor and delivery, and postpartum support
• Minimizing technological interventions
• Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention

The Midwives Model of Care™ is Copyright (c) 1996-2008, Midwifery Task Force, Inc., All Rights Reserved.