What is a Midwife?

May 30, 2017

A CNM is an advanced practice nurse with a master’s degree in nursing who specializes in the care of women across their lifespan.

pregnant woman with midwife

The tradition of having a midwife for childbirth is a long one, but make no mistake that today’s certified nurse midwives (CNM) are highly trained medical professionals.

The main difference between a midwife and an OB-GYN is in the perspective of care for their patients. Midwives are trained as nurses first, in the health promotion model of care. This means that they are trained to encourage patients to make healthy lifestyle choices while taking into account physical, emotional, mental and spiritual factors of health. OB-GYNs are trained in the medical model, which focuses mostly on the physical aspect of care and treatment. They specialize in surgery and illness processes, and midwives specialize in education and management of normal pregnancy and birth.

If you decide that a midwife is the best choice for you and your baby, Mercy Medical Center has an expert team of certified nurse midwives, who are now accepting patients.

What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?

A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is an advanced practice nurse with a master's degree in nursing who specializes in the care of women across their lifespans.

CNMs are considered independent practitioners who have the authority to write prescriptions. They are required to have a collaborative agreement with a doctor to whom they can refer high-risk patients.

What does a CNM do?

  • Conducts physical examinations
  • Manage preventative care of women through all ages and stages of her life
  • Prescribes pharmaceuticals
  • Monitors fetal development during pregnancy and attends to pregnancy-related issues
  • Delivers babies and provides newborn care
  • Performs diagnostics tests

What are the benefits?

  • Midwives are trained in the health promotion model of care. This means that they are trained to encourage patients to make healthy lifestyle choices while taking into account physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual factors of health.
  • Because they are not called out of the office as frequently for emergencies and surgeries, midwives often have the luxury of being able to spend a great deal of time with their patients.
  • A midwife can typically offer a highly personalized, natural process of care for your pregnancy and birth, and will have a collaborative agreement with a physician who can consult or assist if risks or issues emerge.