CPMs prepare for a national certification exam administered by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) in different ways. There are two primary pathways for CPM education with differing requirements: apprenticeship training alone or an accredited formal education program. The health care services provided by CPMs are not as broad as those of CNMs and CMs. CPMs provide pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care for women outside of the hospital—often in birth centers and homes. CPMs are not able to prescribe most medications.
Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM®)
CNMs are registered nurses with graduate education in midwifery. They have graduated from a nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). This education includes a university degree as well as hands-on clinical training by practicing CNMs. They also have passed the national certification exam of the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). CNMs provide general women’s health care throughout a woman’s lifespan. These services include general health check-ups and physical exams; pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care; well woman gynecologic care; and treatment of sexually transmitted infections. CNMs are able to prescribe a full range of substances, medications, and treatments, including pain control medications. CNMs work in many different settings, such as hospitals, health centers, private practices, birth centers, and homes. Most midwives in the United States are CNMs.
Types of Midwives
Midwives are dedicated to providing you with the personalized health care experience you deserve. When looking for a midwife who will best meet your needs, it is important to understand the different options available to you in the United States.
Only with trust, faith, and support can the woman allow the birth experience to enlighten and empower her. ~Claudia Lowe
View the most recent study on birth center safety and outcomes at: Stapleton SR, Osborne C, Illuzzi J (2013). Outcomes of care in birth centers:
Demonstration of a durable model. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health. Retrieved from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jmwh.12003/full.
Integrated Part of the Health Care System
Birth Centers are part of the system of quality health care in many communities.
You receive a complete network of maternity and women's health services including:
* Laboratory, ultrasounds, and other diagnostic testing.
* Consultation with physicians as necessary.
* Transfer to a hospital if the need should arise.
*Birth Center care is covered by most major health insurance plans*
Birth Centers invite you to receive personalized, family-centered care from holistic, professional, health care providers.
Birth Centers are:
* People working together with you to meet your needs during pregnancy, birth, and early parenting.
* For healthy women seeking personal care and families wanting to be involved.
Birth Centers are a place that gives you a caring, warm, and home-like environment where you are supported and respected as well as safe and secure. You will have a private room for giving birth where you can:
* Make yourself comfortable.
* Wear your own clothing.
* Eat when you feel hungry.
* Soak in a tub or have a water birth.
Birth centers welcome your children, your parents, and your friends so you can decide who will be with you or near you as you give birth.
Birth centers give you continuing support; holistic pain management; and information on infant care, breastfeeding, parenting, and family planning.
What is a Birth Center ?
1. Our Moment of Truth. A New Understanding of Midwifery Care. Accessed December 4, 2013 http://ourmomentoftruth.midwife.org/WhatIsAMidwife
2. American Association of Birth Centers. What is a Birth Center? Accessed December 4,2013
Other midwives who are not certified by AMCB or NARM may be practicing in some states. These midwives may or may not have formal education and have not passed a national certification exam. They may or may not be licensed. Their services are usually focused on pregnancy and birth, and they are unable to prescribe most medications.
What is a Midwife?
Most midwives in the United States are health care providers who offer services to women of all ages and stages of life. With their advanced education and their focus on research and partnering with women, they are among the most modern, forward-thinking health professions in the United States today.
With all the changes happening in health care, the midwifery approach to caring for women has never been more important. Today’s woman expects the best care. She expects her provider to understand and value her individual needs. She wants a provider who will partner with her to make health decisions.
Midwives focus on what is most important to each woman’s unique situation and values and often work with other members of the health care team. It’s time to think about whether a midwife might be the right choice for you.