A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is a professional registered nurse trained to provide care to women during all stages of pregnancy. Their advanced training puts them in a position to be able to provide all the basic care required of women during their pregnancy.
Certified midwives are also responsible for providing care and guidance to new parents in respect of caring for their newborn child.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a midwife, read on further to find out what exactly it takes.
Why Become a Midwife?
Becoming a midwife can be a challenging, rewarding, and fulfilling career option for those who are up to the challenge. After you complete all the requisite education and training requirements, you get to work directly with patients in order to support and aid them in bringing new life into this world.
Midwives play a vital role during every stage of pregnancy, from preconception all the way to the early postnatal period. Not only do they constantly monitor the health of pregnant women, but they also provide families with the education and techniques required to raise a new baby.
What Do Midwives Do?
Midwives are healthcare professionals responsible for providing midwifery care. Midwifery care entails taking care of pregnant women and new born infants leading up to birth, during labor, and up to 28 days after a pregnancy.
They are trained to provide care and support to women during their labor and delivery, as well as the healing period afterwards. This entails carrying out many different types of gynecological care and services.
Some of the work a midwife typically carries out includes:
- Helping women with preconception planning
- Giving guidance and assistance to new mothers on how to care for newborn babies
- Doing gynecological examinations
- Providing antenatal care
- Assisting women during labor and delivery
- Monitoring women during the childbearing cycle
- Helping to provide newborn care
Information on Becoming a Midwife
The work of a midwife is much larger in scope than simply helping a patient deliver a baby. Midwives are involved in every stage of the pregnancy: antenatal and postnatal. Furthermore, midwives provide education, support, and counseling to help new families prepare for and deal with the tasks of parenthood.
Becoming a midwife requires an extensive amount of education and training. Individuals must be registered nurses and then undergo further training and certification in order to qualify and practice as a midwife.
How Long Does It Take To Become a Midwife?
There is no one set time frame in which one may become a midwife. Rather, the time that it takes to become a qualified midwife will vary from state to state due to differing requirements.
Generally, to obtain the requisite education to qualify as a midwife can take anywhere between 2 to 4 years depending upon which degree you decide to pursue.
Once you have graduated from an accredited nurse-midwife program, you become eligible to take the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) exam. You need to pass this test in order to practice as a certified nurse midwife. The time it takes to prepare for and give this test can take anywhere from 6 to 8 months.
To get a more accurate picture of how long it’ll take you to become a midwife, check the specific requirements of your state and do some research into how long it’ll take in the particular state you wish to practice in.
What Are The Requirements To Become a Midwife?
In order to become a midwife, the following requirements must be satisfied:
- Be a licensed registered nurse or have a nursing background
- Be committed to caring for patients prior to, during, and after their pregnancies
- Be properly trained in labor and delivery
- Have a sound understanding of statistics
- Have a satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
What Are The Steps To Becoming a Midwife?
Midwives are a specialized type of registered nurses. Therefore, the first step in becoming qualified to practice as a midwife is to secure a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
- Become licensed as a registered nurse (RN)
You must have an active license to practice as a registered nurse in the state you live in.
- Apply to midwifery schools or programs
Depending upon your specific career goals and prior education, there are a number of different routes you can take which include:
- BA/BS to RN/CNP Option – This is a three year bachelor’s program which offers direct entry to those seeking nursing and midwifery education.
- Associate degree RN to CNP Option – This option is for those individuals who have a bachelor’s degree and are seeking qualifications as a registered nurse and midwife. The program takes two years to complete.
- Online/Distance Learning Option – This option is for those individuals who have time commitments that make it impossible for them to attend a traditional campus and acquire a degree. Students may gain the education required to become a midwife and complete all clinical work at a local hospital or clinic.
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with a Specialization in Midwifery
- Post Graduate Certificate – For advanced practice registered nurses (APRN’s) who are looking to add midwifery to their scope of practice.
- Graduate Completion Option – If, after having received a graduate certificate, an individual wants to complete their graduate education and training, this route is for them.
- Certified Midwife Option – This option provides graduate level midwife education to those students who have a bachelor’s degree which isn’t in nursing (although you must have taken some health related courses).
- Pass the certifying exam conducted by the American Midwifery Certification Board
In order to practice as a midwife and apply for jobs, you must successfully pass this exam.
Nurse midwives are qualified registered nurses with specific training in helping women deliver babies. The care they provide begins at the preconception stages and continues until the early postnatal stage. These nurses carry out a variety of tasks, which include monitoring the patients’ health, assisting them through stages of child birth, and teaching and counseling them with regards to how to care for a newborn child. In order to qualify as a midwife, individuals must obtain certification after completing the requisite education requirements.