Midwives, Myths, and the Real Story

By Vicki O Neal

Mention the word “midwife” and some people still think of boiling water and birthing at home. It’s one of many common misconceptions about the modern practice of midwifery. Here are five common myths and the real story about the care nurse midwives provide for their patients.​​​​​

051613 5 Midwives Myths

MYTH 1
“Midwives don’t have any formal education.”

Fact: All Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) are registered nurses and have graduate or doctoral degrees in midwifery. All CNMs must pass a national certification exam. 

MYTH 2
“I’ve heard that midwives only deliver at home and birthing centers.”

Fact: Intermountain nurse midwives deliver only in hospitals and collaborate with OB/GYNs when patients require instrument-assisted deliveries or cesarean sections.

MYTH 3
“Midwives only see patients for pregnancy.”

Fact: CNMs see girls and women from adolescence through menopause and beyond. The most common reasons for visits are prenatal exams, annual exams, pap smears, contraceptive counseling, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, gynecologic problems and minor primary care problems.

MYTH 4
“If I choose a midwife, I can’t have an epidural or any pain medication during labor.”

Fact: A midwife’s primary goal is to support the type of birth each woman wants, while also keeping the mother and her baby safe. Patients can try many methods to reduce pain during labor, including massage, counter-pressure techniques, positional assistance, shower or tub, IV pain medication and epidurals.

MYTH 5
“If I go to a midwife, I’m concerned that my care will not be as good.”

Fact: Midwifery is grounded in medical evidence and clinical expertise, and strives to respect a woman’s own values and wishes.  Patients can expect excellent medical care from a Certified Nurse Midwife.

Watch this Baby Your Baby news segment​ about the misconceptions of midwives.