If you are like a lot of people, you may not know exactly what a Certified Nurse Midwife (or CNM) is or does. And that is okay! Let’s break it down…the word midwife means “with woman”. Midwives have helped women for centuries? Here are some important facts to know:
- There are different kinds of midwives (Traditional Midwives, Lay Midwives, Certified Professional Midwives or CPMs, and Certified Nurse Midwives or CNMs). A Certified Nurse Midwife must first have trained as a nurse and then completed graduate level training earning a Master’s Degree of Science in Nursing. Many CNM’s have continued their education and hold a degree called a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
- CNM’s are licensed independent health care providers in all 50 states, Washington D.C., American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico! CNMs can write prescriptions too.
- CNM’s love catching babies, but that’s not all they do! CNM’s provide annual exams, well woman care, write prescriptions, provide nutrition and holistic counseling, provide education on various topics, STD testing/treatment, and family planning.
- CNM’s work in different settings. You may see a CNM in an office, hospital, freestanding birth center, or even attending women in their own home.
- CNM’s are nationally accredited by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) and represented by a professional association called the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM).
- If a CNM is attending your birth, you can have pain medicine…or not. CNM’s know many coping mechanisms that do not involve medication, but that doesn’t mean you cannot have an epidural if that is what is right for you.
- CNM’s believe pregnancy is a normal life event. Pregnancy and childbirth are treated with respect and interventions are performed only when medically necessary.
Phew! Ok, that is the nuts and bolts of the definition of a Certified Nurse Midwife. But, what I am about to show you is what gets to the heart of what starts to DEFINE a Certified Nurse Midwife. Are you ready?
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Being a CNM is about relationships. Couples, parents, babies, health care providers- we all have unique relationships that bind us together. We are all on this journey together and having strong relationships is vital to having a happy and healthy life! I am so fortunate and blessed to be a midwife. I strongly encourage you to seek out a Certified Nurse Midwife for your health care needs!