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The Difference Between 4 Different Types of Midwives

Author: Marla Vogt-Roberts, MSN, CNM

You might think all midwives undergo the same training and certification in order to practice. However, midwives can come from very diverse training backgrounds. Understanding the different types of midwives can help you make an informed decision in choosing the right birth experience for you and your baby.

Four Types of Midwives

  • Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM)– Certified nurse midwives are both registered nurses and have a University prepared Masters or Doctoral degree. These health care professionals must complete an education program that’s accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. They then take National Certifying Board exams and then apply for licensure to practice in their state. (Disclosure: I am a Certified Nurse Midwife.)
  • Certified Midwives (CM) – CMs are educated and complete an apprenticeship. CMs are not required to be registered nurses. Certified Midwives can also take the American College of Nurse Midwives National Certifying Board exams and apply for licensure to practice in some states.
  • Certified Professional Midwives (CPM)– These midwives are educated and complete an apprenticeship. They take a National certification exam and are certified by the North American Registry of Midwives. They are not required to have any special degree or to be registered nurses.
  • Direct Entry Midwives – Sometimes referred to as a lay (or “empirical”) midwife. She is one who has obtained her knowledge through hands-on training and/or informal study. These midwives do not necessarily have formal training or clinical experience.

This list is not comprehensive. There are other definitions and classifications of midwives. State laws and regulations affect how midwives are labeled, as well as what training and certification is required. Some states such as Arizona license all midwives. Always ask your midwife what certification she has.

Ask A Certified Nurse Midwife In Mesa, AZ Your Questions

Have questions about the types of midwife services available to you? Schedule an appointment with East Valley Women’s Midwifery Group in Mesa, AZ to ask your questions. Call 480-632-2004.
Please consult with your healthcare provider before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.



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