What Does a Certified Nurse Midwife Do?
Whether you’re having your first child or you are bringing a second or third member into the family, pregnancy is an exciting time full of preparation. One of the many decisions that a mother-to-be may consider is whether or not she will choose to have a midwife.
A midwife plays many roles during pregnancy, but primarily acts as a personal coach for the future mother. A midwife provides emotional support and offers advice for any questions the mother may have. A midwife also aids in preparing the mother for labor and birth, and usually stays with the mother immediately after the birth.
A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is trained in both nursing and midwifery, and is certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM).
A CNM assists women through all aspects of pregnancy. In addition to emotional support and guidance, a CNM can perform routine gynecological procedures, educate parents about nutrition and exercise, family planning services, and deliver babies.
A certified nurse midwife is one of several types of midwives. Other types of midwives are:
- Certified Midwife (CM)
- Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)
- Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM)
- Lay Midwife (LM)
Is a Midwife Right for Me?
A midwife is not right for everyone. A midwife is a great option for women who are generally in good health. This means that they are low risk and do not have any pre-existing conditions. Women with pre-existing conditions may be considered high-risk and are generally referred to an obstetrician.
Having a midwife is a woman-centric approach to pregnancy and childbirth. Midwives respect this natural life event and strive to provide the support and guidance that every mother may need. Midwives believe that women can give birth with minimal medical intervention. They utilize a combination of traditional techniques and modern technology to provide the platform for safe and natural births.
A midwife offers partnership through prenatal and postpartum care. Mothers receive personalized attention and longer visits than with a doctor, which usually leads to higher satisfaction. There is also less surgical intervention such as C-sections, induced labor, and forcep births with care from midwives. Midwives at hospitals are common, but they may also attend home births or birth centers.
How to Choose a Midwife
Everyone’s individual preferences are different when it comes to what to look for in a midwife. Some mothers may prefer an in-home midwife while others opt for a certified midwife. Certifications may carry a lot of weight with some women, while it’s not as important for others.Before you start calling around, decide what you’re looking for out of a midwife’s services, and what qualifications you are comfortable with.
When choosing a midwife, you’ll generally want to create a list of midwives to interview and pare down your options from there. Some questions to ask your midwives include:
- What is your training?
- Do you have any certifications?
- What is your experience, and do you have references?
- Do you deliver at home, in a birth center, or in a hospital?
- What percentage of your prenatal patients do you deliver yourself?
- What is your emergency or backup plan for an out-of-hospital birth?
- Do you take medical insurance?
Your midwife will be your personal coach throughout the duration of your pregnancy. In addition to having the correct skills and credentials, it’s also important to make sure that you get along with her!
Do Nurse Midwives Deliver Babies?
Yes, absolutely! Your CNM can either keep you company during the birth, or she can perform the delivery herself. A Certified Nurse Midwife is just as capable of delivering a baby as an obstetrician. Midwives can work in birth centers, hospitals, or attend home births. Midwives at hospitals have access to emergency care if complications arise with either the mother or the baby. A hospital setting is especially valuable for high-risk pregnancies.
Midwives at Florida Medical Clinic
At Florida Medical Clinic, our certified nurse midwives provide personalized, high-quality care to expecting mothers. Our CNMs are part of the OB-Gyn team which will help guide you through this exciting time.
Are you expecting to welcome a new member into your household?