Certified nurse midwives specialize in both nursing and midwifery, and they can function as a woman’s primary health care provider if she has a “low risk” pregnancy and is in relatively good health. Since 2010, all certified nurse midwives (or CNMs) have been required to hold a graduate or master’s degree. Before then, a CNM had to possess either a masters of science in Nursing or a post-master’s Certificate. Additionally, certified nurse midwives must hold a registered nurse’s license in the state in which they practice.
CNMs provide healthcare that involves emotional and physical support before, during, and after childbirth. They are registered nurses who specialize in assisting pregnant women and their newborn babies. Other services they provide include:
- Monitoring the health of the mother and fetus during pregnancy
- Providing gynecological services such as breast exams and pap smears
- Advising on topics such as reproductive health and personal habits
- Performing complete prenatal care exams and evaluations
- Educating new mothers and mothers-to-be on subjects such as childbirth methods, infant care, nutrition, and exercise
Benefits of a Certified Nurse Midwife
Here’s a look at some of the benefits of hiring a certified nurse midwife:
- You can find them in numerous places (see below)
- A CNM can assist you in your home during and after birth of your child
- A CNM can perform necessary medical interventions such as fetal monitoring
- A CNM can educate you about childbirth options and postpartum activities such as breastfeeding
- A CNM can be an essential part of your clinical care team during labor and delivery
- A CNM can stay with you as other members of the care team change shifts, deal with other patients, etc.
- A CNM can prescribe and administer pain medications
- A CNM can play a key role in reducing maternal and infant death rates
- A CNM can be your primary care health provider before, during, and after pregnancy
Where do You Find a Certified Nurse Midwife?
Certified nurse midwives can be found in a number of places. Most people find their midwives via hospitals or birthing centers, or through private midwife companies. However, they can also be found in public health departments, health maintenance organizations, preferred provider organizations, independent practice associations, and community health centers. Occasionally, you’ll find midwives who work in their clients’ homes.