Certified Nurse Midwives specialize in the care of women.
A recent study published by the University of British Columbia links midwifery care to better birth outcomes. Midwifery care has long been associated with lower incidences of cesarean sections, lower rates of labor induction and augmentation, and increased rates of breastfeeding. Despite the wealth of knowledge and evidence supporting healthier outcomes for patients receiving care from CNMs, unsubstantiated myths still abound...
One such myth is that Certified Nurse Midwives have no formal education. In fact, Certified Nurse Midwives must obtain a minimum of a Master’s Degree in order to practice and many Certified Nurse Midwives hold doctoral degrees. Certified Nurse Midwives are registered nurses who have completed graduate medical education specializing in midwifery. Midwifery programs of study are university based and include traditional classroom course work as well as hands-on clinical rotations.
Medical care provided by Certified Nurse Midwives emphasizes ethical, individualized care that focuses on the physical, social, and psychological condition of women ages 12 and up.
Nurse Midwifery education programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. Graduates must pass a national board certification exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board and become licensed as nurse practitioners and as Certified Nurse Midwives by the state in which they practice. Certified Nurse Midwives have full prescriptive authority in all fifty states.
Certified Nurse Midwives are independent providers of health care and are experts in normal pregnancy, medicated and unmedicated childbirth, and benign gynecology. Certified Nurse Midwives practice evidenced based care in accordance with national guidelines for obstetric and gynecologic care.
Unlike other disciplines, their practice is also guided by the Midwifery Model of Care—a model which focuses on the interaction between the patient and the midwife. Medical care provided by Certified Nurse Midwives emphasizes ethical, individualized care that focuses on the physical, social, and psychological condition of women ages 12 and up.
Since CNMs provide care to women based on their individual needs, they work in conjunction with other members of the health care team to achieve optimal outcomes. Women with chronic or high-risk health problems can receive gynecologic and prenatal care from CNMs, however these women are referred to specialist physicians who manage ongoing or chronic illness. Since CNMs do not perform surgery they partner with obstetricians who are available 24 hours a day to perform surgery in the event of an emergency.
Whether you see a Certified Nurse Midwife for prenatal and maternity care, annual well woman care, contraception, or a gynecologic condition, you can expect compassionate support, education, and involvement in the decision-making process regarding your care.