What is a Midwife?
The term “midwife” means “with woman.” Midwives are licensed health professionals trained to provide women’s health care, gynecologic care, family planning services, prenatal care, labor and birth care, after birth care, and initial care of the newborn. Midwifery is an ancient profession that is common in most other countries in the world. Midwives are well-prepared to care for healthy women independently in all areas of healthcare. Women with more complex healthcare needs are cared for within the collaborative relationships that midwives have with physician consultants.
Midwives view pregnancy as a healthy part of women’s lives that needs to be supported and honored. They value education, health promotion, and a holistic approach to life transitions such as pregnancy and birth. Midwifery care focuses on supporting normalcy through careful monitoring, education and counseling. This approach lessens the need for unnecessary technology and interventions. Midwifery care is woman-centered; to ensure the goal that each woman has the opportunity to have a safe, satisfying birth experience surrounded by the loved ones of her choosing.
In the state of Wisconsin, there are two kinds of midwives: certified nurse-midwives and licensed midwives. We are the Wisconsin affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, made up of certified nurse-midwives.
What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife?
A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is first educated as a registered nurse, and then obtains a graduate degree in the field of nurse-midwifery.
Wisconsin CNMs attend deliveries in hospitals, birth centers, and/or homes, have prescriptive authority, and provide gynecological, family planning, and primary care to their patients. In Wisconsin, CNMs are independent health care providers who work in collaborative with obstetricians or family practice physicians, if a risk factor or complications occurs. CNMs are experts in supporting normal life transitions including birth. Many healthy clients of CNMs never see a physician during the course of their heath care.
How to Become a Nurse-Midwife:
Information about the educational preparation for nurse-midwives and national programs, including distance learning options, can be found on the ACNM national website.
Marquette University offers several educational options leading to certification as a nurse-midwife. Information is available at the following website:http://www.marquette.edu/nursing/Academic/Graduate.shtml#MSN
The Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing offers several educational options leading to certification as a nurse-midwife. Information is available at the following website:http://www.midwives.org/home.html