Midwives have been attending births and providing care for centuries. Midwifery has even been identified as a profession in documentation from Ancient Egypt. Historically, midwives were women, and a majority of midwives today are also women. A midwife’s duties varied from region to region. Some basically acted as OB/GYNs and were required to have formal training. In other places, midwives were taught by those that came before them and learned on-the-job. Midwifery is still a crucial part of the modern medical landscape. But what does modern midwifery encompass?
While modern midwifery shares many of the functions and principles of midwifery in the past, things have changed over the years. While some midwives bear more resemblance to those in the past, many midwives receive more extensive education and training to get certified. There are different classifications of midwives that are qualified to perform different services.
- Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs): Certified nurse-midwives are registered nurses that also receive extensive training and education in pregnancy and childbirth. They receive training in anatomy, physiology, and obstetrics. They must be certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board. They are considered part of the mainstream medical community and can provide prenatal care, attend deliveries in hospitals, and provide newborn care. They can also provide well-woman care and offer primary care services. Many CNMs are part of organizations that collaborate with physicians in case medical intervention is needed during a delivery.
- Certified Midwives (CMs): A CM is similar to a CNM, only they do not have a degree in nursing. They must receive midwifery training from an accredited program and get certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board.
- Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs): These midwives practice independently, but must pass a test from the North American Registry of Midwives to prove competency. They can attend births at home and in birth centers.
- Direct Entry Midwives (DEMs): This type of midwife practices independently. They can be educated in a number of ways including apprenticeships, college programs, or a midwifery school. They can provide prenatal care and attend home births or deliver in birth centers.
- Lay Midwives: A lay midwife is not required to have any formal medical training or certification in all states. The education and certification are not uniform across all US states. For this reason, some people do not consider them part of the mainstream medical community. Lay midwives often work with alternative medicine practitioners. They do not usually have the ability to deliver babies in hospitals.
Sometimes there is confusion concerning midwives and doulas. Some people think they’re the same thing, but they are not. Doulas do not provide the same care as midwives. Doulas are not usually considered medical professionals because they don’t provide medical care. A doula can support the mother before and during labor and delivery, but they wouldn’t be able to deliver the baby. Their role is based on education and support. A midwife often offers the same things with the addition of medical care.
Services Modern Midwives Provide
Modern midwives can provide a wide range of services beyond obstetrics. As outlined by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, CNM can offer the following services:
- Prenatal care
- Newborn care (first 28 days of life)
- Well-woman care
- Primary care services (link to the page above when completed)
- Wellness education & counseling
- Family planning & birth control counseling
The CNMs of City of Oaks Midwifery are committed to providing comprehensive care to all patients. If you’re ready to experience the benefits of modern midwifery, call (919) 351-8253 to make an appointment.