The Role of a Midwife Defined

What is a Midwife? Your Questions Answered

The biggest consideration when you find you’re expecting is the type of birth experience you want. Jessica Good, Certified Nurse Midwife, describes what a midwife has to offer moms-to-be.

What is a Midwife? Your Questions Answered
A certified nurse midwife (CNM) provides support during a woman’s pregnancy and stays with her throughout labor and  the entire birth experience. CNMs are also qualified to care for newborns in their first few weeks of life.

A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is a person who received a Masters degree specializing in taking care of women, both during and outside of pregnancy. Nurse Midwives are also qualified to take care of newborns in their early life.

The Role of a Midwife

Typically, midwives are nurses first. The schooling takes two to three years and midwives must be certified in order to practice, meaning they have to all meet the same standards. Midwives are different than doctors in that they are with expectant mothers during labor and are present for more of the labor experience. In addition, CNMs help the moms-to-be with a lot with support — during pregnancy, labor and birth, trusting that intervention is not needed in a normal labor.

Midwives help women who desire a natural birth without pain medication, but also support women who choose to have an epidural or other pain medication. Midwives also assist with breastfeeding and postpartum complications that may arise.

At Renown Health, midwives work with healthy pregnant women who do not have a very high-risk pregnancy. They work in partnership with physicians, so in case a physician is needed in a high risk situation, there is always someone available. Midwives at Renown Health are qualified to assist on surgical birth, so they can continue to offer support to their patients in the case that a C-section or other surgery is necessary.

What Is a Lay Midwife?

You may have heard of a term called a lay midwife. This type of midwife did not receive education in the same way as a Certified Nurse Midwife. They are not permitted to deliver babies in the hospital and typically work with women who want a home birth. There are currently no CNMs that do home births in Reno, though CNMs around the world work in many different settings.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact The Pregnancy Center at Renown

Contributed by Jessica Good, Certified Nurse Midwife