What is a Midwife?

A CNM is a Certified Nurse Midwife who also is an advance practice nurse practioner.  A CNM is a licensed medical professional with prescriptive authority in all 50 states, holds, at minimum, a master’s degree and is a registered nurse prior to entry into their program. Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are registered nurses who have graduated from a nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery  Education (ACME) and have passed a national certification examination to receive the professional designation of certified nurse-midwife. Nurse-midwives have been practicing in the United States since the 1920s. The vast majority of midwives in the United States (U.S.) are certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs). CMs are licensed in five states, including,  Delaware, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

A certified professional midwife or CPM, does not require an academic degree, with entry requirements of a high school diploma or equivalence.  Prerequisites for this program vary and there are no specific requirements for entry into the North American Registry of Midwives.  CPMs do not maintain prescriptive authority.  A CPM alone is not enough to practice in the state of florida.

An important position statement regarding nurse midwives, put forth by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), otherwise known as the authority in obstetrical care…

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) affirm our shared goal of safe women’s health care in the United States through the promotion of evidence-based models provided by obstetrician–gynecologists (ob-gyns), certified nurse-midwives (CNMs), and certified midwives (CMs). The College and ACNM believe health care is most effective when it occurs in a system that facilitates communication across care settings and among providers. Ob-gyns and CNMs/CMs are experts in their respective fields of practice and are educated, trained, and licensed, independent providers who may collaborate with each other based on the needs of their patients. Quality of care is enhanced by collegial relationships characterized by mutual respect and trust as well as professional responsibility and accountability.

Recognizing the high level of responsibility that ob-gyns and CNMs/CMs assume when providing care to women, the College and ACNM affirm their commitment to promote the highest standards for education, national professional certification, and recertification of their respective members and to support evidence-based practice. Accredited education and professional certification preceding licensure are essential to ensure skilled providers at all levels of care across the United States.”       

Why Choose a CNM?

Decades of research indicate that primary care services provided by advanced practice nurses and nurse-midwives result in favorable outcomes and patient satisfaction. In a recent systematic review of studies comparing midwifery care, researchers examined multiple outcomes. Results indicated that women cared for by CNMs compared to women of the same risk status had:

  • Lower rates of cesarean birth,
  • Lower rates of labor induction and augmentation,
  • Significant reduction in the incidence of third and fourth degree perineal tears,
  • Lower use of regional anesthesia, and
  • Higher rates of breastfeeding.

Women in the CNM group were more likely to receive

  • Prenatal education focusing on health promotion risk reduction behaviors,
  • A more hands on approach with a closer supportive relationship with their provider during labor and birth, and
  • Fewer technological and invasive interventions.

In summary, a CNM is a highly trained, highly qualified medical professional, whose training and knowledge is evidence based. Our CNM’s are committed to delivering the highest quality of individualized care. The CNM’s in our group work in close collaboration with our two OBGYNs resulting in the most comprehensive and complete care for you and your baby.

Renee Hoyle, CNM




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