A midwife practice: what is it?

Healthcare professionals that specialize in pregnancy, delivery, infant care, and postpartum health are known as midwives. Certain midwives offer standard reproductive services, such as Pap testing, pelvic examinations, and birth control advice. Midwives are typically more naturalistic in their approach to pregnancy and childbirth, as well as more holistic. When a person knows they intend to give birth at home or without the use of medication, they frequently select a midwife.

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Most midwives are not doctors. They frequently collaborate with gynecologists and obstetricians (Ob/Gyns) at hospitals to make sure you have access to the care you require. If you have only minor complications or a low-risk pregnancy, a midwife is advised.

Labor and pregnancy are deeply personal experiences. You can choose the level of care that suits you most. Therefore, understanding the distinctions between OB/Gyns and midwives may be beneficial.

What is the role of a midwife?

It is contingent upon their qualifications, licensure, education, and place of practice. The most services may be provided by trained nurse midwives and certified midwives. Uncertified midwives provide less services.

A midwife may offer the following medical services:

regular pregnancy monitoring and prenatal visits.

Sonography and fetal blood tests.

taking care of babies and giving birth.

postpartum medical attention.

Inform people about conception, breastfeeding, nutrition, and other areas of reproductive health.

Family planning and birth control.

Breast examinations and Pap testing.

exams to check for illnesses and infections of the vagina, including STIs.

A qualified nurse midwife might work in clinics, homes, hospitals, or birthing facilities. The settings in which uncertified midwives can practice are restricted. It is crucial to find out from your midwife’s qualifications what standards are in place for midwife services at your hospital or birth facility.

What kinds of midwives are there?

There are several varieties of midwives:

CNMs, or certified nurse midwives:

CNMs has a graduate degree in midwifery and have finished their nursing education. They can do general reproductive care, administer medicine, arrange lab work, and diagnose diseases in addition to handling pregnancy and childbirth. They are eligible to work in birthing facilities, residences, and hospitals. The American Midwifery Certification Board certifies CNMs. They operate in the District of Columbia as well as all 50 states.

CMs, or certified midwives:

CMs are master’s degree holders in midwifery, although they are not nursing graduates. CMs hold a degree from an undergraduate program other than nursing. The American Midwifery Certification Board has qualified them, and they are authorized to prescribe drugs. There are just nine states where CMs are authorized to practice.

Professional midwives with certification (CPMs):

CPMs are employed by homes or birth centers. They are certified by the North American Registry of Midwives and have finished their curriculum. Not all states allow CPMs to practice, and they are not authorized to prescribe drugs.

Lazy or unlicensed midwives:

These midwives lack a license to practice or a qualification. They have either learned on their own or through some other kind of instruction, such as an apprenticeship. Nearly all of the work that unlicensed midwives do is in homes.

Do midwives hold medical degrees?

Not all midwives work as doctors. A PhD in nursing practice is earned by some.

What distinguishes a midwife from an OB/Gyn?

The education and methods of care that OB/Gyns and midwives employ are not the same.

Midwives approach pregnancy and delivery more naturally and are very helpful. Instead than seeing pregnancy and childbirth as illnesses that need to be treated, they see them as natural processes. They are typically more receptive to unconventional methods of childbirth and labor. A midwife could be what people seek for a more comfortable childbirth.

Because they did not attend medical school, midwives are not able to perform all of the same functions as an OB/Gyn. High-risk pregnancies and delivery difficulties are beyond their scope of practice. Midwives cannot use some medicinal or surgical procedures that obstetricians can use to treat problems.

That is not to suggest that Ob/Gyns won’t provide individualized, supportive treatment or be receptive to other methods to your care. If you’re not sure, schedule meetings with both healthcare professionals to see which one best suits your style and your goals for the pregnancy and birth.

Is an OB/Gyn superior to a midwife?

It’s a matter of taste. While some people like Ob/Gyns, others prefer midwives. It is usually advised to use a midwife exclusively in low-risk pregnancies. In the US, the majority of pregnancies are low-risk. Here are a few benefits of hiring a midwife:

reduced likelihood of assisted birth or induction.

fewer births via cesarean section.

decreased medication or epidural usage.

Third and fourth-degree perineal tears are less likely to occur.

greater latitude for home births.

You are in more control of how you are treated.

Generally speaking, midwives are not qualified to do surgery. If a person’s pregnancy or delivery experience becomes difficult or high-risk, midwives will refer them to an OB/Gyn.


Having midwives on your reproductive care team may be very beneficial, particularly during pregnancy and delivery. When seeking a more natural approach to your treatment, or for low-risk pregnancies and deliveries, they are perfect. There are differences among midwives. Verify a midwife’s credentials and the environments in which they are authorized to practice before hiring her. Verify if they are in good standing with a medical partner. In order to assist you receive the best result possible, your healthcare professionals will collaborate whether you choose to employ an Ob/Gyn, midwife, or a mix of both.