Midwifery Has Stood the Test of Time
Every country across the globe, almost without exception, has midwives.
Becoming a midwife is an exciting opportunity to join an honorable lineage of health care providers who serve women throughout their lifespan, in every rural, urban, tribal, and remote area of the world. Though having ancient roots, this modern profession is on the cutting edge of providing up-to-date, personalized, high quality care.
Midwives Are on the Rise
According to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of midwives attending births in the U.S. reached an all-time high in 2009, and may still be rising. This is an excellent time to become a midwife. An increase in the midwifery workforce will bring the United States more in line with the rest of the world where midwives already play a central role in providing maternity and newborn care.
Routes of Entry into Midwifery
In the United States there are several pathways to midwifery education and training. Most pathways result in midwifery certification and qualify the candidate for licensing in her/his state or municipality. Candidates seeking to become certified and licensed midwives can choose among several routes of entry into the profession using nurse-midwifery or direct-entry midwifery educational programs. The most common types of midwives are listed below, including the three types of credentialed U.S. midwives, Certified Professional Midwives (CPM), Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM), and Certified Midwives (CM).
Certified Midwife (CM): Certified Midwife (CM) is an individual educated in the discipline of midwifery, who possesses evidence of certification according to the requirements of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM): A Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is an individual educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery, who possesses evidence of certification according to the requirements of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
Certified Professional Midwife (CPM): A Certified Professional Midwife is a knowledgeable, skilled and professional independent midwifery practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and is qualified to provide the midwifery model of care. The CPM is the only midwifery credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings.
Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM): A direct-entry midwife is an independent practitioner educated in the discipline of midwifery through self-study, apprenticeship, a midwifery school, a college, or university-based program distinct from the discipline of nursing. A direct-entry midwife is trained to provide the Midwives Model of Care to healthy women and newborns throughout the childbearing cycle primarily in out-of-hospital settings. Licensed Midwives (LM) and Registered Midwives (RM) are examples of direct-entry midwives.
In addition, there are midwives who—for religious, personal, and philosophical reasons—choose not to become certified or licensed. Typically they are called traditional or community-based midwives. They believe that they are ultimately accountable to the communities they serve; or that midwifery is a social contract between the midwife and client/patient, and should not be legislated at all; or that women have a right to choose qualified care providers regardless of their legal status.
Resources for Becoming a Midwife
For Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)
For Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) or Certified Midwife (CM)
- International Center for Traditional Midwives (ICTC, Black Midwives and Healers)