A Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is a medical professional who is trained in both nursing and midwifery, and has been certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board. They provide care for women’s health, including prenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum care, and gynecological exams. CNMs are allowed to practice in all 50 US states and are authorized to prescribe medications.

Key Takeaways

  1. Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) are licensed healthcare professionals who specialize in women’s reproductive health and childbirth. They are trained specifically to provide care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.
  2. CNMs are certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board and they are also registered nurses. This combination allows them to offer a full range of primary healthcare services for women from adolescence to beyond menopause, which includes care for their newborn (neonatology), annual exams, family planning services, and menopausal management.
  3. With their advanced education and their focus on collaboration, CNMs are leaders who work with other healthcare professionals, including physicians, to provide high-quality and personalized healthcare. They also emphasize education, health promotion, and disease prevention for their patients, making them crucial in delivering comprehensive woman-centered care.


The term “Certified Nurse-Midwife” (CNM) is important in the context of motherhood because CNMs serve as primary healthcare providers for women, particularly in the areas of family planning, gynecological needs, prenatal care, childbirth, and postpartum care.

CNMs have been specially trained and certified to manage most complications that occur during pregnancy and delivery, and they are responsible for assisting the mother throughout their childbirth journey.

Furthermore, they are licensed to offer a holistic approach to their care, including emotional and psychological support, which can aid tremendously in the motherhood transition.

Therefore, their role is pivotal in ensuring the health and wellbeing of both the mother and the baby.


A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is a professional in the healthcare field whose primary purpose is to provide a wide range of healthcare services for women, including gynecological examinations, contraceptive counseling, prescriptions, and labor and delivery care. They serve a crucial role in maternal and infant health services, particularly through management of pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum period.

For many women, especially those who prefer a more holistic approach to childbirth, a CNM offers a balance between the natural process of pregnancy and childbirth, and necessary medical intervention. Certified Nurse-Midwives not only attend to the physical needs and clinical care of the mother and baby, but also provide psychological and emotional support.

This is particularly beneficial in managing the stress and emotional fluctuations that may occur during pregnancy and childbirth. Additionally, CNMs are often the go-to professionals for women who prefer low-intervention births, as they are trained to provide comprehensive prenatal care and guidance, help manage labor and delivery, and offer postnatal care to mother and newborn.

They strive for a safe yet personalized childbirth experience, where the expectations and wishes of the mother are respected and considered. Their emphasis on patient education helps mothers make informed decisions about their health and the health of their babies.

Examples of Certified nurse-midwife (CNM)

Shannon is a Certified Nurse-Midwife who is working in a primary healthcare center. She provides prenatal care sessions to expectant mothers, carries out deliveries, and offers postpartum healthcare advice to new mothers. She not only handles normal pregnancies but also tackles some complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Jennifer is a Certified Nurse-Midwife who operates in a private birthing center. She conducts home visits, helps moms-to-be create their birth plans, provides emotional support, and guidance throughout the pregnancy. She is also equipped to handle emergencies during labor and can carry out small surgical procedures while ensuring the safety of both the mother and child.

Maria is a CNM associated with a major hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology department. She collaborates with doctors and other healthcare professionals to provide full-spectrum maternity and reproductive healthcare. She spends the majority of her time educating women about their health, preventative measures, family planning, as well as providing necessary care during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum period.

FAQs About Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)

What Does a Certified Nurse-Midwife Do?

A Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is a highly trained healthcare provider who assists women in labor and delivery. Additionally, they provide prenatal and postnatal care, and may also provide routine gynecological services such as family planning and well-woman care.

What Kind of Training Does a Certified Nurse-Midwife Receive?

A Certified Nurse-Midwife must first become a registered nurse and then complete a graduate program in midwifery. Additionally, they must pass a certification exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

Where Do Certified Nurse-Midwives Work?

Certified Nurse-Midwives can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, birthing centers, and private practices. Many also provide home birth services.

What Is the Difference Between a Certified Nurse-Midwife and a Certified Midwife?

Both Certified Nurse-Midwives and Certified Midwives provide similar services. The primary difference is their training. A Certified Nurse-Midwife is first a registered nurse, while a Certified Midwife has a background in health sciences. Both must complete a similar graduate program and pass the same certification exam.

Can a Certified Nurse-Midwife Help with High-Risk Pregnancies?

While CNMs can care for women with low-risk pregnancies, they often collaborate with obstetricians and other healthcare providers in managing high-risk pregnancies. Their focus is on providing safe, personalized, and holistic care to women during their pregnancy journey.

Related Motherhood Terms

  • Antenatal Care
  • Postnatal Care
  • Labor and Delivery
  • Birthing Center
  • High-Risk Pregnancy

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