What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)?
Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are licensed healthcare practitioners educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery. CNMs provide primary healthcare to women including: prenatal care, labor and delivery care, care after birth, gynecological exams, assistance with family planning decisions, preconception care, menopausal management and counseling in health maintenance and disease prevention.
What is the difference between a CNM and other midwives in Utah?
Throughout history, the ancient word, midwife, has been used to describe women who are "with women" at birth. Contemporary usage associates this word with a philosophy of care that focuses on the needs of the woman, offers a variety of options and minimizes unnecessary intervention. CNMs blend the supportive care women have come to expect with the scientific knowledge needed for safe practice, which includes close collaboration with the medical community and has grown to encompass well woman care. Today, the majority of midwives are CNMs. Still, a variety of titles are used to label midwifery practice so it can be confusing for patients.
The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) believes that, in the United States, all midwives should graduate from an accredited midwifery education program that is affiliated with an institution of higher education. All CNMs in the U.S. have earned at least a bachelor's degree, while over 70 percent hold a master's degree or higher.
In our practice, all the CNMs have a bachelor's degree in Nursing and a master's degree in midwifery. After successfully passing a national certification exam supervised by the ACNM, we are licensed by the state of Utah. We are also required to maintain continued competency by attending educational presentations annually.
How do I know that I will get safe care from a midwife?
The American College of Nurse-Midwives believes that midwives should be licensed to practice medicine and should provide their clients with a safe mechanism for consultation, collaboration and referral if needed. In Utah, CNMs have been practicing medicine since 1965. The Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, under the Nurse-Midwifery Practice Act, regulates nurse-midwifery practice. Utah CNMs have had prescription writing authority since 1982. All of the CNMs in our practice are licensed as RNs and CNMs with prescriptive practice. In our practice, we have established mechanisms for consultation, collaboration and referral with the Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists for LDS Hospital. We work closely with our consultant physicians in the identification and management of any unusual or high-risk pregnancy complications.
Where will I have my baby if I come to see the Intermountain Nurse-Midwives?
Some people assume that CNMs deliver babies at home, but that is not the case in Utah. We have privileges for birth attendance at LDS Hospital where we have been delivering babies since 1988. We feel that the nursing staff at LDS Hospital is very supportive of the philosophy of midwifery care while providing the highest level of medical care available in the region.
Why should I choose a Nurse-Midwife if I'm not pregnant?
CNMs offer a variety of healthcare services and high quality healthcare for women. We will take a complete family and personal medical history. After which, we will perform a thorough and gentle examination. We will suggest and order age appropriate laboratory and screening exams. Birth control counseling, healthy lifestyle teaching, prescriptions and follow-up exams are also available in our practice. Midwives care for adolescents, women of childbearing age and women during menopause.
We are very interested in promoting healthy lifestyles for all women.
- We may advise vitamins, calcium supplements and suggest diet or lifestyle changes.
- You will be encouraged to ask questions and we will spend the time necessary to answer these questions to your satisfaction.
- We emphasize teaching about risk factors and self care practices that aid in disease prevention.
- Should you be diagnosed with a medical condition that requires specialized treatment, we have referral relationships with many excellent healthcare providers in various specialties.
Even the U.S. government's top scientific organization, the Institute of Medicine, has recommended that "more reliance be placed on certified nurse-midwives" in delivering primary healthcare.