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What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?

In the United States, a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is an Advanced Practice Nurse who has specialized education and training in both Nursing and Midwifery. CNM’s function as primary healthcare providers for women and most often provide medical care for relatively healthy women, whose birth is considered uncomplicated and not “high risk,” as well as their neonate. Certified Nurse-Midwives, in most states, are required to possess a minimum of a graduate degree such as the Master of Science in Nursing, or Post-Master’s Certificate. By 2010, all Certified Nurse Midwives will be required to hold a graduate (Masters) degree.

Additionally, Certified Nurse Midwives must also hold an active Registered Nurse license in the state in which they practice. Certified Nurse Midwives practice in hospitals and medical clinics, and may also deliver in birthing centers and attend at-home births. They are able to prescribe some medications, treatments, medical devices, therapeutic and diagnostic measures, et al. in all 50 states. CNMs, while their specific scope of practice will vary depending on which state they are licensed to practice, in most states they provide medical care to women from puberty through menopause, including care for their newborn, antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum and nonsurgical gynecological care.

Certified Nurse Midwives may work closely, or in collaboration, with an Obstetrician & Gynecologist, who provides consultation and/or assistance to patients who develop complications or have complex medical histories or disease(s). Often, women with high risk pregnancies can receive the benefits of midwifery care from a Certified Nurse Midwife in collaboration with a physician.