A Certified Nurse-Midwife is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse whose specialty is Midwifery. They are educated and trained in caring for pregnant women and their newborn babies. They provide perinatal healthcare to women including prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care. CNMs can also provide family planning as well as most gynecological needs of woman of all ages from puberty through menopause.
CNM Scope of Practice
The nurse-midwife provides many different health services for women and newborns. They vary based on the laws of the individual state where the Certified Nurse-Midwife is licensed.
CNMs can take medical histories, perform extensive physical assessments, order laboratory tests and procedures, interpret the results of those tests, diagnose patients, prescribe medications and other therapies, and coordinate consultations and referrals to other qualified healthcare professionals. They also services educating women and families about childbirth, how to care for infants, proper nutrition, and proper exercise.
CNMs often work closely with obstetricians and other healthcare professions especially when they encounter patients with high risk pregnancies.
Practice Settings for CNMs
Certified Nurse-Midwives can work in a variety of settings. Not only do they frequently work in private practices either independently or in collaboration with a physician, but they also work hospitals, health departments, medical clinics, and birthing centers. They can also attend at-home births assuming conditions are safe and suitable. They are often primary providers of perinatal care to underserved populations in rural or inner-city settings.
Becoming Certified Nurse-Midwives
In order to enter a program which leads to becoming a Certified Nurse-Midwife, individuals must already be licensed as a Registered Nurse. They must complete and accredited program and then pass the certification examination given by the American College of Nurse Midwives.