Honoring Midwives: National Midwife Week
Midwife means “with woman” and midwives are literally with women. We would like to thank Midwives and their families for their lives of on-call service to women, infants, and their families. It is a challenging lifestyle, but one that has played a very vital role in women’s lives throughout history. Thank you for being “with women” in the vulnerable and sacred event of giving birth.
As part of recognizing midwives, we would like to share a few things about the practice of midwifery. Midwives are trained and practice differently than obstetricians. Obstetricians are medical care providers and surgeons while midwives are trained in low risk birth. There is also a wide variation in midwives and their practices. Let’s begin with a look at the Midwifery Model of Care:
Midwifery Model of Care
Focus on health, wellness,
Labor/birth as normal
Lower rates of using
Mother gives birth
Care is individualized
Not all midwives are the same. Some practice in hospitals, birth centers, and homes. There are different routes of training as well for each of these practice types. Have you ever been confused about the different types of midwives? Here is a brief description:
Lay Midwives or Direct Entry: These are the midwives who were trained by other midwives. Some may have been trained through an apprenticeship and through textbooks. Lay midwives may the same training as Certified Professional Midwives, but they have not gone through the certification process. These are the traditional midwives of old who practice in home birth.
Certified Professional Midwives: CPM’s are home birth midwives. These midwives have undergone extensive coursework in women and birth related areas sometimes under the tutelage of a midwife, sometimes through distance courses, or by attending a midwifery school. Along with their coursework, they are apprenticed by other Certified Professional Midwives. Following their coursework and apprenticeship, they must take and pass an 8 hour test for certification. Certified Professional Midwives are well educated in low risk birth. When pregnancy is no longer low risk, their clients are risked out to Obstetric care. They are home birth practitioners.
Certified Nurse Midwives: CNM’s are midwives trained in nursing and midwifery. Nurse midwives do not usually attend home births, but practice in hospitals and obstetric groups. Birth Centers are usually staffed by nurse midwives in association with hospitals and doctor practices. With their extensive schooling and then certification process, they are versed in low risk birth practices and risk out to obstetric care when pregnancy is not low risk.
There are variations of methods of practices within each group as well. Learning about birth will help you to know the questions to ask to find the care provider that best fits your desires.
This is a very brief introduction into the different kinds of midwives. For more information, you may visit Childbirth Connections: Midwives for Maternity Care.
Now, it’s time to Hug a Midwife. 🙂