Most midwives in the United States are health care providers who offer services to women of all ages and stages of life. With their advanced education and their focus on research and partnering with women, they are among the most modern, forward-thinking health providers in the United States today.
The midwifery approach to health care has never been more important. Today’s woman expects the best care. She expects her provider to understand and value her individual needs. She wants a provider who will partner with her to make health decisions.
Midwives focus on what is most important to each woman’s unique situation and values and often work with other members of the health care team. It’s time to think about whether a midwife might be the right choice for you.
When considering a health care provider who will best meet your needs, keep in mind that many midwives focus not only on maternity care, but also on the full range of health needs throughout life. Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) can provide care from your first period until after menopause, plus all the important health events in between, such as:
CNMs are independent health care providers. They also work with other members of the health care team, such as physicians and nurses, to provide the highest quality care. They work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, medical offices, clinics, birth centers, and homes. They provide general health care services, gynecology care, and family planning, as well as maternity care (before, during, and after childbirth). They are covered by most insurances.
CNMs are registered nurses with graduate education in midwifery. They have graduated from a nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). This education includes a university degree as well as hands-on clinical training by practicing CNMs. They also have passed the national certification exam of the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). CNMs provide general women’s health care throughout a woman’s lifespan. These services include general health check-ups and physical exams; pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care; well woman gynecologic care; and treatment of sexually transmitted infections. CNMs are able to prescribe a full range of substances, medications, and treatments, including pain control medications. CNMs work in many different settings, such as hospitals, health centers, private practices, birth centers, and homes. Most midwives in the United States are CNMs.
What is an IBCLC?
An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) is a healthcare professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. An IBCLC is certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®), independently accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). An IBCLC works in a wide variety of settings, providing leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research in the lactation field.