Updated: Nov 14, 2021
What is a Midwife? What makes me qualified to speak on the various topics related to women and their health? When most people think of a midwife or midwifery, if they have even heard the term before, they tend to think they are only present at homebirths, that they don’t use any medications and can’t order medications, go against medical advice, that if you have a midwife you can’t have an OB/GYN and vice versa, if you are high risk a midwife can’t be part of your care, midwives only deal with pregnancy and birth, and of course that we all wear Birkenstocks. In all fairness I do wear Birkenstocks. Or like my husband likes to say (jokingly of course he’s actually one of our biggest advocates) we sprinkle a little magic and add some witchy vibes and babies come out. On the other hand I mean who couldn’t use a little magic in their life, wink wink but I digress. For the sake of this blog and moving forward we will talk about the scope of practice and workings of Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) and Certified Midwives (CM).
The literal translation of midwife means “with woman”. We care for women physically, mentally, and spiritually from adolescence through pregnancy and birth, to menopause and beyond. A Midwife is an independent practitioner who practices a full range of primary services. Now I’m going to get super technical for a minute. It’s important to me for you to understand how far our scope of practice reaches. The American College of Nurse Midwives defines a CNM and CM as “an independent provision of primary care, gynecological and family planning services, preconception care, care during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, care of the newborn during the first 28 days of life, and treatment of male partners for sexually transmitted infections. Midwives provide initial and ongoing comprehensive assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. They conduct physical examinations, prescribe medicine including controlled substances and contraceptive methods; admit, manage, and discharge patients; order and interpret laboratory and diagnostic tests and order the use of medical devices. Midwifery care also includes health promotion, disease prevention, and individualized wellness education and counseling (ACNM,2012).
*Certified midwives go through the same training but they have a bachelors in another discipline besides nursing while also having to meet health and science requirements*
Midwives work in a multitude of settings including private offices, hospitals, birth centers, homes, clinics, along with community and public health care systems. I’m clapping this one out, our job is to work in partnership with women and their families. It’s so incredibly important to have this relationship. It fosters an environment of trust and openness. The realm of obstetrics, gynecology, and beyond can at times be uncomfortable for some. My job as a Midwife and healthcare provider is to create a level of safety and comfort while giving you all the evidence-based tools I can in order for you to make educated decisions that are best for you and your family. I don’t claim to know everything, heck you can’t ever know everything! But I will do my best to research and point in the right direction your looking for. That’s the beauty of medicine and healthcare. It’s always evolving and we are unlocking secretes of the mind and body everyday.