A midwife is a health professional who supports and cares for women before, during, and after childbirth. They monitor the well-being and safety of pregnant women. A midwife also helps to deliver babies with little to no medical interventions.
A Certified Nurse Midwife is an advanced practice registered nurse who provides primary care to women of all ages. They offer prenatal and postpartum care, labor and delivery, newborn care, health assessment, and peri/post menopause care.
If you are looking for a career that allows you to focus on women’s health, then you should consider becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife. In this article, we’ll discuss the duties, qualifications, workplace, and salary expectations of a CNM.
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The difference between a certified midwife and a certified nurse-midwife (CNM)
Is a certified nurse-midwife the same as a professional midwife?
A Certified Midwife is a health professional who attended a graduate-level midwifery program accredited by the Accredited Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). Certified Midwives are required to pass the certification examination administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).
A Certified Nurse Midwife is a Registered Nurse who has earned at least a master’s degree in nursing before enrolling in a midwifery program accredited by the ACME. To become a certified nurse-midwife, you must have an active RN license after passing the AMCB examination.
The main difference is that certified midwives are not required to hold a registered nursing license. It’s an excellent option for individuals who only have a bachelor’s degree instead of a graduate degree and some experience in a healthcare-related field but would like to pursue a career as a midwife.
The duties of a certified nurse-midwife.
A certified nurse-midwife is a primary health care provider for women and gynecologic treatment. Throughout the pregnancy journey, certified nurse midwives are expected to provide care during the prenatal, labor/delivery, and postpartum periods.
They also offer education and information related to pregnancy health, nutrition, breastfeeding, exercise, fertility, and infant care. Apart from pregnancy care, certified nurse-midwives often provide general healthcare for women.
CNMs serve as a healthcare guide for female patients from adolescence through menopause. They can perform annual gynecological exams and assess and manage contraceptive and birth control methods. They are also responsible for other gynecological care.
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Qualifications required to become a CNM.
Certified Nurse-Midwives need advanced nursing skills, clinical experience, and expert knowledge in midwifery. To become a CNM, you must complete the requirements for getting a registered nurse and midwife license.
Complete an ACME-approved midwifery graduate program.
Most nurse midwife positions require a high-level degree such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a master’s degree. To meet the education requirements for becoming an advanced practice registered nurse, you should enroll in an accredited Doctor of Nursing Practice program.
As a nurse-midwife, you will provide gynecologic and pregnancy care and manage women’s healthcare. So, certified nurse-midwives must complete a midwifery graduate program approved by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
Pass the American Midwifery Certification Board exam
After completing your midwifery program, you must pass the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) examination. This national certification exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions. It is typically taken on a computer.
The certified nurse-midwifery exam seeks to test students’ knowledge of antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum, newborn, gynecology, and other subjects of women’s health care. You must pass the exam to earn a certified nurse-midwife certification and CNM credential.
Acquire a state license, if required
Once you’ve passed the nurse-midwifery exam, it’s time to apply with your state’s board for a state license. Most states in the U.S. require Certified Nurse-Midwives to obtain licenses before they are allowed to practice and write prescriptions. You should make sure to check the midwifery laws in your state.
Where can you work as a CNM?
Certified Nurse-Midwives can work in hospitals, OB/GYN clinics, private practices, university medical centers, and birth centers that are unaffiliated with hospitals. They can attend and assist with home births.
Nurse-midwives can choose to work typical hours such as 9 am to 5 pm. However, they may work on weekends and evenings due to the unpredictability of pregnancy and childbirth. They are required to be on-call for their patients.
What are the salary expectations of a Certified Nurse Midwife?
A certified nurse-midwife usually provides various services that may be related or unrelated to pregnancy. It may include pregnancy care, postpartum care, family planning, medication prescription, delivery and labor coaching, disease prevention and management, newborn care, etc.
As a result, a certified nurse-midwifery profession can be lucrative and rewarding. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual Wage for nurse midwives is $114,210 (May 2021). It also varies depending on the employer and the state the nurse-midwife is located in.
Erin is the mother of identical twin girls and their slightly older brother. She is a domestic engineer, and previously had a career leading customer service teams for a major HVAC company. Cleaning without harsh chemicals, and cooking easy and usually healthy meals are part of Erin's daily life. She volunteers with youth leaders, and genuinely wants to help others win. Erin has a degree in Communications, with a focus on Broadcast Journalism.