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What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?

This is a question all Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) get asked quite frequently. Certified nurse midwives are the most common midwife practicing in the U.S. providing healthcare to women of all ages.

While midwives have been arguably present since the dawn of time, the modern day CNM began practicing in the U.S. in the 1920s. All CNMs are Registered Nurses (RNs) that went on to attend an accredited Midwife Graduate Program and passed a national certification exam.

We are licensed and have prescriptive authority in every state.

What does a midwife do?

Midwives provide a full range of health services for women far beyond the obvious prenatal care and childbirth.

Did you know we see women for their annual well women care, birth control, infection screening, common GYN problems, preconception counseling, and even menopause concerns?

We also prescribe medication, order lab work and imaging if needed.

The Number of Midwives in the U.S. is Growing!

Use of midwives in the U.S., and the number of births attended by midwives has increased every year since 1989.

In 2014, we attended 8.3% of U.S births. 98% of those births took place in a hospital or birth center.

Did you know that 2% of midwives are male?

The modern-day midwife is a CNM. Most people don’t realize that in much of the world, including all of Europe, midwives attend the majority of the births. Midwives even delivered little Prince George and Princess Charlotte!

Teaming Up with OB/GYNs to Offer Comprehensive Care

Midwives work closely with OB/GYNs. As part of the team, we care for low risk patients but will collaborate and consult as needed if circumstances change and a pregnancy becomes complicated. We are well trained to recognize complications as they occur.

Midwives are experts at normal labor. In general, we are strong advocates for minimal intervention and supporting a woman’s desires in her labor. Women laboring with a midwife can have an epidural and pain medication if that is her desire.

Ultimately, a practice that contains both midwives and physicians is the perfect place to receive your care because you get the knowledge and experience of both worlds.

WakeMed has several practices comprised of both physicians and midwives. They can be found in North Raleigh, Brier Creek and Cary.

About Cara Cameron, MS, CNM

Cara Cameron is a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) with WakeMed Physician Practices. Cara has clinical interests in well-woman care, contraception, post-partum depression, high-risk pregnancy, and the gynecological needs of teenagers, including teenage pregnancy.