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What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)?

Certified nurse-midwives are educated at the master's degree level to provide women’s health care. They specialize in care during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. They also provide family planning methods and routine health care for women. Midwives believe pregnancy and birth can be normal and empowering events in the life of a woman. They strive to provide personalized, respectful care for each client. Read more about certified nurse-midwives and meet the team.

What Do Midwives Do?

  • Help patients give birth normally, and the way they choose
  • Recognize problems in pregnancy and labor and refer patients to specialists when necessary
  • Have healthy mothers and healthy babies. Here are some statistics on women cared for by midwives at BMC in 2015:
    • There was a cesarean birth rate of 19%.
    • Sixty percent of women with a previous cesarean tried to have a vaginal birth, and of those, 53% succeeded.
    • Ninety-five percent of babies born to mothers who were cared for by midwives did not need special care (this figure is better than average for healthy pregnancies)
  • Offer medication and epidurals if desired
  • Offer support and encouragement for those who choose to give birth without pain medicine
  • Work as a team with obstetricians, family medicine physicians, and perinatologists
  • Refer patients to BMC’s Birth Sisters Program for extra community doula support.
  • Give free pregnancy education and information through our Hey Mama! Patient Guides, Centering Pregnancy program, and Childbirth Education program
    • Paciente guías disponibles en español: Hola, Mamá! – Una guía sobre el embarazo, parto y los bebés.

Who Should Have a Midwife?

All healthy women may be offered midwifery care. At Boston Medical Center, the special team approach on labor and delivery allows any woman with a low-risk pregnancy to receive care by either a midwife or a family physician. Women with high-risk pregnancies are cared for in labor by obstetricians, who are experts at complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Some women may especially benefit from a midwife, including women who:

  • View pregnancy and birth as a normal process. They will match well with midwifery’s expertise in normal childbearing.
  • Desire midwifery care and have moderate medical risk factors. These women may receive care from both a midwife and a doctor.
  • Want extra time and attention at their prenatal visits, including first time mothers and anyone who wants additional support and information.