Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)
What is a Nurse-Midwife?
Should I enroll in a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) Program?
Online CNM Programs
Certified Nurse Midwife Roles and Responsibilities
Certified Nurse Midwife Salary
Certified Nurse Midwife FAQs
Certified nurse midwives provide care for women who are pregnant—including prenatal, labor and postpartum. They may also care for newborns and infants during the first few months of life.
CNMs may be found working in hospitals, clinics, private practices, birthing centers or in the home of a patient.
In short, no. You must have an active RN license to become a certified nurse midwife after passing the ACMB examination. Becoming a certified midwife, however, does not require becoming a nurse first.
The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) is the U.S. certifying body for certified nurse-midwives (and certified midwives).
Candidates that take and pass the nurse-midwifery exam will earn certification and the professional designation of a certified nurse-midwife.
The certification process involves submitting an application and passing a computer-based certification examination.
Candidates interested in becoming a CNM must meet the following AMCB requirements to sit for the nurse-midwife exam:
The fee for the AMCB nurse-midwife exam is $500 as of October 2021.
The certificate of a CNM expires December 31 of the fifth year following the issue date of the certificate. Individuals must complete the AMCB Certificate Maintenance Program (CMP) to renew their certificate. The CMP is designed to ensure CNMs (and CMs) remain educated, knowledgeable and competent practitioners.
Although a CNM may hold a doctoral degree in nursing, a midwife is not a medical doctor. A CNM is an advanced practice registered nurse who completes graduate-level training through programs accredited by the ACME.
In contrast, a physician practicing within the specialties of obstetrics, gynecology, or both (OB-GYN) has met the requirements to practice medicine in these specialties—which includes undergraduate education, a degree from a medical school, medical licensure, and 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs.
However, both CNMs and OB-GYN physicians provide comprehensive medical care throughout a woman’s lifespan—including pregnancy and childbirth. They diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases women may experience, especially those affecting the reproductive system.
With the advanced education, training, and licensure they possess, midwives provide comprehensive health care services throughout a woman’s lifespan—including primary care; gynecologic care; and care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. They may also provide care for a normal newborn during the first 28 days of life.
A doula is a “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.” Although doulas may be certified, they do not have the same educational and licensure requirements as CNMs.
Determining whether a CNM can practice independently depends upon state-level regulations, since every state has a designated practice environment for CNMs: independent, collaborative, or supervisory. CNMs can practice with full autonomy and prescriptive authority in an independent practice state. However, other states require CNMs to enter a collaborative or supervisory agreement. Such agreements designate which practices require additional consent or supervision of a partnering physician. Additionally, hospital systems may further regulate CNMs beyond this scope of practice.
Employment for CNMs is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030—which is a much faster pace than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS report on nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. An increased demand for healthcare services is expected to drive this growth, due in part to an increased emphasis on preventive care and the fact that advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) such as CNMs can perform many of the same services as physicians. As states embrace expanded practice authority for APRNs, CNMs will be allowed to perform more services independently to meet growing healthcare needs.