Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are valued and trusted healthcare providers who provide women with a low-tech, high-touch alternative to traditional gynecologic and obstetrical care. CNMs are advanced practice registered nurses who possess a graduate-level degree in nurse-midwifery and earn national certification as a CNM through the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).
CNMs are qualified to work in all birth settings, including hospitals, homes, and birth centers, and possess the authority to write prescriptions in all 50 states. While CNMs are most commonly associated with delivering babies, they also provide health care and wellness care to women, which may include family planning, gynecological checkups, and prenatal care.
According to the Ohio Board of Nursing, there are 431 licensed CNMs in Ohio, as of June 2019. Currently, CNMs attend about 8 percent of births in the United States, the majority of which are in a hospital setting. CNMs offer similar care to that of an OB/GYN doctor, but their approach is somewhat different.
Midwifery care involves a trusting relationship between the provider and pregnant person, who share decision-making. While the medical model of care tends to focus on managing problems and complications through the use of routine care and the use of technological interventions, midwives also see pregnancy and labor as normal life processes rather than a condition to be managed. The midwifery model of care focuses on:
- Health, wellness, and prevention
- Labor and birth as a normal, physiological process
- Minimal interventions
- Individualized care
Midwifery care is growing, partially due to research that shows it is associated with high-quality care and is comparable to care provided by obstetricians/gynecologists. According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), patients of nurse-midwives report high levels of patient satisfaction, and midwifery care results in lower costs due to fewer interventions, which are often unnecessary, expensive, and invasive.
A 2018 research analysis found that, in hospital settings, people who have midwives are less likely to have cesarean deliveries, commonly known as C-sections, or episiotomies. Similarly, data shows that people who birth with nurse midwives are more likely to breastfeed and less likely to experience a perineal laceration during birth.
The need for APRNs, including CNMs is increasing. The healthcare industry is quickly growing, and The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that all nursing positions will increase 26 percent by 2028, with employment of nurse midwives projected to grow 25 percent from 2014 to 2024.