How Can I Become a Certified Nurse-Midwife? 

midwife caring for pregnant patient

A Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is a healthcare provider that delivers care to women throughout all stages of their lives. While they are similar in some ways to Labor & Delivery nurses (L&D) and OBGYNs, CNMs have a unique role in the lives of women. What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife, and what steps do you need to take to become a CNM? 

What is the Role of a Certified Nurse-Midwife? 

Nurse-midwives focus on a number of women’s healthcare services. One important role is helping mothers deliver babies safely and naturally. A nurse-midwife monitors both the mother and baby during delivery, checking vital signs to ensure the health of patients. In some cases, a nurse-midwife will work under the guidance of or with physicians during C-sections. 

In addition to providing care during births, nurse-midwives perform other duties for women in all stages of life, including the following: 

  • Prenatal care 
  • Postpartum care 
  • Routine check-ups during pregnancy 
  • Annual exams 
  • Written prescriptions 

What’s the Difference between a Nurse-Midwife and a Labor & Delivery Nurse? 

Nurse-midwives and delivery nurses have similar responsibilities, but CNMs have more advanced training. Labor and Delivery nurses are RNs who are trained to care for mothers in labor such as monitoring vital signs and tracking contractions. While L&D nurses do not deliver babies themselves, they may assist a CNM or OBGYN with delivery. CNMs not only work with expectant mothers during delivery, but they also tend to work with expectant mothers during pregnancy. 

What is the Difference between a Nurse-Midwife and an OBGYN? 

While Nurse-Midwives and OBGYNs are both trained and certified healthcare professionals, the two roles differ. An OBGYN is a medical doctor, while a Nurse-Midwife is an advanced practice nurse. Nurse-Midwives typically do not care for women with high-risk pregnancies, nor can they perform a solo C-section delivery. One additional difference is that OBGYNs only deliver babies in a hospital, while a midwife can perform home births. 

What Education Requirements Are There to Become a Certified Nurse-Midwife? 

Becoming a Certified Nurse-Midwife calls for you to be educated in two disciplines: midwifery and nursing. A graduate degree is required for entry to midwifery practice as a CNM. Due to the advanced educational requirements involved, it takes several years to workin this healthcare specialty. 

Here is what you can expect as you study to become a Certified Nurse-Midwife: 

1. Become a Registered Nurse 

The first step in becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife is to become a Registered Nurse (RN). Becoming an RN requires completing a bachelor’s or associate degree program that has been approved by your State Nursing Board. After graduation, you must pass the NCLEX-RN to be eligible to practice as a registered nurse.  

2. Earn an Advanced Degree in Nurse-Midwifery 

Complete a MSN or DNP nurse-midwifery program that is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). Most APRN programs require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and 1-2 years of nursing experience. Most programs take about 2-3 years to complete. 

3. Pass the Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) Board Exam 

The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) CNM Certification Exam consists of 175 questions, and tests nurses on knowledge expected of an entry level nurse midwife practitioner for safe practice. Once you pass this exam, you will be licensed to practice as a Certified Nurse-Midwife in all 50 states. 

If you have chosen to pursue a career as a Certified Nurse-Midwife, you can look forward to a rewarding role in women’s healthcare.  

The BoardVitals Certified Nurse Midwife Question Bank includes more than 350 Certified Nurse Midwife board review practice questions and answers with detailed explanations for both correct and incorrect responses. The Certified Nurse Midwife question bank follows the exam content outline for the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) CNM Certification Exam. 

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