The International Confederation of Midwives defines midwifery as the profession of midwives; only midwives practice midwifery. It has a unique body of knowledge, skills, and professional attitudes drawn from disciplines shared by other health professions, such as science and sociology, but practiced by midwives within a professional framework of autonomy, partnership, ethics, and accountability.
An autonomous midwife provides midwifery care. Midwifery competencies (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) are held and practiced by midwives, educated through a pre-service/pre-registration midwifery education program that meets the ICM global standards for midwifery education.
In some countries where the title ‘midwife’ is not yet protected, other health professionals (nurses and doctors) may provide sexual, reproductive, maternal, and newborn health care to women and newborns. As these health professionals are not midwives, they do not possess the competencies of a midwife and do not provide midwifery skills but rather aspects of maternal and newborn care.
Finding out about the many sorts of midwives is an excellent place to start when choosing the best one for you. Others show up for hospital births. Others only go to the hospital or for at-home deliveries. Anywhere you choose, a few can be present at birth. Where you wish to have your baby will affect who you choose to assist you throughout labor.
Different Types of Midwives
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) and Certified Midwife (CM)
Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) and Certified Midwives (CMs) are highly trained healthcare professionals who provide care for women not only during pregnancy and birth but also from adolescence through the end of life.
CNMs are nurses who have completed a graduate-level nurse-midwife program and passed a certification exam from the American Midwifery Certification Board. At the same time, CMs are non-nurses who have completed a graduate-level midwifery degree program and passed a certification exam from the American Midwifery Certification Board.
CNMs and CMs are qualified to provide the same level of care. All states license CNMs for independent practice, but not all permit CMs. The American College of Nurse-Midwives reports that CNMs and CMs attended 312,129 births in the U.S. in 2010, representing 11.6% of all vaginal deliveries and 7.8% of total deliveries.
Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)
A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) has met the certification requirements of the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). Applicants can qualify for the NARM exam by apprenticing with a qualified midwife and completing an entry-level portfolio evaluation process or by graduating from a midwifery program or school.
Applicants must meet the Entry-Level Portfolio Evaluation Program if the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council doesn’t accredit the program or school.
CPMs are committed to providing the midwifery model of care.
- Monitoring a woman’s complete (not just physical) well-being from pre-natal through post-natal
- Identifying women who need to see an obstetrician and giving them appropriate referrals
- Giving each mother individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, assisting during labor and delivery, and supporting the mother and newborn after the birth
- Using as few technological interventions as possible
The practice privileges of CPMs vary by state.
Direct Entry Midwife (DEM)
Direct-entry midwives specialize in births at home and in free-standing birth centers. No national certification or licensing is available for direct-entry midwives, and each state has legal requirements for education and licensing (if any).
A Certified Professional Midwife, Certified Midwife, or Certified Nurse-Midwife can be a direct-entry midwife, and some states require some certification while others don’t. Most direct-entry midwives are self-employed.
Lay midwife refers to an uncertified or unlicensed midwife who often has an informal education, such as an apprenticeship or self-study, rather than a formal education. Some states have licensing for lay midwives, while others don’t.
More so than a typical doctor, midwives work with you and teach you about pregnancy. They will emphasize your overall pregnancy experience more than routine examinations. They spend a lot of time with you, which makes them more devoted to your pregnancy.
It’s crucial to consider your comfort level during your pregnancy while selecting a midwife. Having a midwife during your pregnancy is safe as long as no health issues could impact the birth. A midwife might be a safe choice if you’re healthy and have no problems while pregnant.