HealthONE - November 27, 2020

Expecting moms often have questions about midwifery, choosing a midwife to deliver their baby, and the role of a midwife in a clinical setting. The midwives at HealthONE provide support, expert medical advice, education and the knowledge that your baby is in good hands—before you give birth, while in labor and extending well beyond the moment you welcome your newborn into the world. Our midwives are passionate about forming a strong bond with each of the women they serve in their practice.

What is a midwife?

A midwife is a trained health professional who offers a wide range of primary healthcare services to women, including gynecologic and family planning services, preconception care and care during pregnancy and childbirth. Midwives also care for newborns during the first 28 days of their life.

A midwife provides services in a number of settings, such as ambulatory care clinics, private medical practices, community and public health clinics, hospitals, birth centers and in the home. In the U.S., a midwife is a person who has successfully completed a midwifery education program based on the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM).

What are the differences between a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Certified Midwife (CM) and Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)?

A CNM has a graduate degree, is a licensed registered nurse (RN), and is certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). A CM also has a graduate degree and is certified by the AMCB, but is not an RN. A CPM is not required to obtain a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree, but has completed the training and experience requirements outlined by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM).

It’s important to know the differences between a CNM, a CM and a CPM. At HealthONE, our CNMs have an extensive nursing and primary care background, including many years of childbirth training and experience.

How is a midwife different than an OB/GYN?

An or obstetrician/gynecologist—or OB/GYN—is a physician who specializes in women’s health. An OB/GYN has a medical degree and has completed a medical residency with surgical training and a residency specific to obstetrics and gynecology. An OB/GYN provides care and treatment to women of all ages for a wide range of health conditions.

Generally, a midwife is trained to focus their practice solely on the reproductive care of women. This includes prenatal care, pregnancy, labor and postpartum care. A midwife might practice in many different clinical settings, or deliver a baby at home or in a birth center.

One of the key differences between a midwife and an OB/GYN is philosophy of care. An OB/GYN is trained to look for diseases (pathology), possible complications or other health issues in pregnant women. Midwives see pregnancy as a natural process and take a holistic approach to caring for women and their baby. Their job is to support women during the pregnancy process, provide education and guidance, assist in delivery and offer medical advice to ensure that expecting moms get the care they need.

At HealthONE, our OB/GYNs and CNMs work together to care for pregnant women and new moms. As a team of doctors, midwives and nurses, we are committed to helping women have a healthy pregnancy.

What services does a midwife provide?

A midwife provides many different services to women. These include:

  • Primary health care
  • Family planning services
  • Gynecological care
  • Care during all stages of pregnancy, including when you are trying to conceive, during pregnancy, in labor and after childbirth

Midwives also educate women on nutrition, preparing for delivery and what to expect throughout one’s pregnancy. Midwives often help women decide on a birthing plan and serve as an important source of support for expecting moms, their partners and their families.

Will my midwife deliver my baby?

Midwives are trained in labor and delivery. If you’re an expectant mother, the choice to have a midwife deliver your baby is up to you.

Compared to an OB/GYN, a midwife typically spends more time with a woman while in active labor. Midwives are there to help with breathing, pushing and monitoring both mom and baby during labor.

I want my midwife to deliver my baby — can I have an epidural for the pain?

One misconception about choosing a midwife to deliver your baby is the assumption that you cannot have an epidural or have access to pain medication while in labor.

During labor, women who are having a midwife-attended birth have the option to receive an epidural or use other types of pain medication, as approved by their doctor.

If there are complications during labor and delivery, can I have medical intervention?

At HealthONE, an OB/GYN is always available to assist in a delivery. In some cases, a woman who elects a midwife for delivery may experience a complication or need a medical intervention while in labor. In these instances, an OB/GYN is on hand to address these complications or provide specific treatment for women or their newborn.