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Not Your Grandsmother's Midwife

       As the Colordao Midwives like to say: Midwives are Catching!

No longer are midwives riding horseback into the "hollers" of Kentucky, or rambling across the prairies in a covered wagon out in Nebraska... The mode of transportation has changed, but the confidence women put into their midwives has not.  They are just as valued driving an SUV to your local hospital, or a sports car to your closest Birth Center.  As in times past, it's still trus that no matter where you are in the country, every woman deserves her own Midwife!

Midwifery is the "oldest known profession".  For centuries women have turned to midwives for support and assistance during childbirth and for 'women’s mysteries'. The word 'midwife' means 'with woman' and is derived from the old English/German words mitt (with) and wif (woman).

 Today’s Certified Nurse-Midwife provides care to women across the lifespan. Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) are educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery. They are Registered Nurses who have graduated from a nurse-midwifery educational program accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). They are 'certified' when they pass a national examination given by the American Midwifery Certification Board, and are licensed as "Advanced Practice Nurses" (APRN) to practice nurse-midwifery. All 50 states license CNMs.

CNMs provide health care for women, offering an individualized approach to care. Midwifery care includes:

 **preconception care

** prenatal care

** labor & delivery care

** care after birth (post-partum)

** gynecological exams throughout the life cycle

** newborn care

** family planning and birth control

** menopausal care
**counseling in health maintenance and disease prevention.

American College of Nurse Midwives. Definition of midwifery practice.

Position statement.


Accessed October 4, 2011.


CNMs also provide primary health care. Nurse-midwives listen to women, educate women, and encourage women to take an active role in their healthcare; they are experts in normal pregnancy, natural or anesthetized birth, the postpartum period and well women gynecology.

 Midwives are employed to teach Medical Residents the art of natural, safe maternity care, and attend births at major academic institutions as well as small rural facilities.

Nurse-midwifery care is woman-centered, holistic and based on the philosophy that health care should be safe and satisfying. Nurse-midwives are committed to promoting the health of women through complete and evidence-based information, autonomy in decision-making and support of the normalcy of pregnancy, birth and the many other cycles in the lives of women.  In addition to pregnancy care, CNMs are trained to provide well woman care. You can go to your midwife for gynecological exams, vaginal infections, breast exams and family planning, for women of all ages. Think of the frightened teenager who is having her first non-pediatrician exam. Or the 90 year old grandmother that doesn't need birth ccontrol or pap smears, but needs careful and patient instruction on nutrition and bone health, or fall prevention.

Nurse-midwives are qualified to prescribe medications, perform medical procedures and utilize medical technology within their scope of practice, and as medically necessary. Nurse-midwives maintain established relationships with physicians for consultation, collaboration, or referral as needed. Nurse-midwives follow the Standards of care outlined by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Find a CNM near you! Discover the difference when you partner with a Certified Nurse-Midwife for your healthcare!

For more information on CNMs: Mymidwife.org


In Oklahoma, CNMs are independent licensed practitioners. There are close to 70 CNMs in our state. Approximately 5% of all births in Oklahoma are attended by CNMs. Most CNM births occur in hospitals, although some nurse-midwives attend births in the home or in a freestanding birth center.


  • Most women are great candidates for nurse-midwifery care
  • A CNM involves you as an active participant in your care
  • A CNM talks to you, listens to you and involves your partner in the pregnancy care and birth of your baby
  • A CNM physically and emotionally supports you during labor
  • A CNM will educate you and support you in making healthy lifestyle choices
  • A CNM attends to your cultural, spiritual and personal beliefs
  • A CNM will support your choice of a natural childbirth
  • A CNM will support your choice for a non-medicated birth
  • A CNM will also support the choices you make for your labor and birth
  • A CNM will support you in your plan to breastfeed your baby GotMom.org

Well Woman Care

Midwifery FAQs

Q: What are the hallmarks of midwifery care?
A: Midwives recognize as normal the physiological processes of pregnancy, birth and menopause. Midwives advocate non-intervention in the absence of complications, promotion of family-centered care, and advocate for informed choice, shared decision-making, and the right to self-determination of the women and families they serve. (ACNM. Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice; 2002)

Q: Is midwifery care safe?
A: Research demonstrates that for healthy women, midwifery care is as safe as that provided by physicians. Moreover, several studies have found that midwifery care offered some advantages to women and their babies, including: a lower rate of birth by Cesarean, fewer episiotomies, decreased risk of infant mortality, a shorter postpartum hospital stay and increased satisfaction with the care provided (ACNM. Nurse-midwifery in 2008: Evidence-Based Practice. 2008).

Q: Can midwives prescribe medication?
A: CNMs have prescription privileges in OK. In addition, those working in hospitals can order any of the available pain relief medications, including epidurals.

Q: What if I develop complications?
A: Midwives always work as members of a care team including physicians. If a woman develops health complications at any time, her midwife will consult with or refer to a physician as appropriate. Midwives are trained to respond to medical emergencies effectively and are certified in newborn CPR.

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