Is becoming a midwife right for me?

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What do midwives do?
Career Satisfaction
Are midwives happy with their careers?
What are midwives like?

Still unsure if becoming a midwife is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a midwife or another similar career!

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How to become a Midwife

Becoming a midwife involves specific educational pathways, training, and certification. Here are the general steps to become a midwife:

  • Educational Requirements: Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent to meet the basic educational requirement. While a bachelor's degree is not always mandatory, many midwifery education programs prefer candidates with a college-level education. Consider pursuing a relevant degree in nursing, health science, or a related field.
  • Choose a Midwifery Education Program: Select an accredited midwifery education program that aligns with your career goals. Programs may include Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) or Certified Midwife (CM) programs for those with nursing backgrounds, or Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) programs for direct-entry midwifery.
  • Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) or Certified Midwife (CM) Path: If pursuing CNM or CM credentials, enroll in a graduate-level midwifery program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). CNM programs typically require a nursing background, while CM programs may accept candidates from various educational backgrounds.
  • Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) Path: If pursuing CPM credentials, enroll in a midwifery program accredited by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) or another recognized accrediting body for direct-entry midwifery education. CPM programs often emphasize out-of-hospital birth settings.
  • Clinical Experience: Gain hands-on clinical experience through supervised practice, internships, or clinical rotations. Many midwifery programs require a specified number of clinical hours to ensure practical skills development.
  • Certification Process: Depending on the type of midwifery pursued, complete the certification process. CNMs and CMs typically obtain certification through the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). CPMs obtain certification through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) - see below.
  • State Licensure: Research and understand the licensing requirements for midwifery practice in the state where you plan to work. Some states require midwives to be licensed, while others may have varying regulations or no licensure.
  • Continuing Education: Stay current with developments in midwifery through continuing education and professional development opportunities. Many certifying bodies require midwives to engage in ongoing education to maintain their credentials.
  • Job Search and Practice: Upon certification and licensure, begin your midwifery career. Seek employment opportunities in hospitals, birthing centers, or consider establishing an independent midwifery practice.

Be aware of state-specific regulations and requirements, as midwifery practice is regulated at the state level, and requirements can vary. Stay informed about changes in the field and network with other midwives for support and collaboration.

Certification for midwives is typically granted by specific accrediting bodies depending on the type of midwifery practiced. Here are the main certifications for different types of midwives:

Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) and Certified Midwife (CM):

  • Certifying Body: American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB)
  • Certification: CNMs and CMs obtain certification through the AMCB. CNMs must hold a nursing degree, while CMs may have a non-nursing degree.
  • Certification Exam: The AMCB administers the national certification examination, which assesses the knowledge and skills required for midwifery practice.
  • Recertification: CNMs and CMs must undergo recertification every five years, which involves meeting continuing education requirements and passing a recertification exam.

Certified Professional Midwife (CPM):

  • Certifying Body: North American Registry of Midwives (NARM)
  • Certification: CPMs obtain certification through NARM, which is recognized as the certifying body for direct-entry midwives.
  • Certification Process: Completion of a midwifery education program accredited by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) and successful completion of the NARM exam.
  • Recertification: CPMs are required to maintain their certification through ongoing continuing education and recertification every three years.

Midwives may choose to pursue additional certifications or specialties to enhance their skills in areas such as lactation consulting, advanced life support, or other specialized fields related to midwifery practice. These certifications can contribute to professional development and provide additional expertise in specific aspects of maternal and infant care.

Online Resources
There are many online resources available for midwives, including:

  • Midwifery Today: This website offers a wealth of information for midwives, including articles, conference information, and a forum for discussion.
  • American College of Nurse-Midwives: The ACNM website has a wealth of resources for midwives, including educational materials, practice guidelines, and information on advocacy and policy.
  • International Confederation of Midwives: The ICM website offers information on global midwifery issues, resources for midwives, and information on the role of midwives in promoting maternal and child health.
  • Midwife International: This website provides information on training and continuing education for midwives, as well as resources on global midwifery issues.
  • Midwives Alliance of North America: The MANA website offers resources on midwifery education and training, advocacy and policy, and professional development.
  • Birth International: This website provides resources on childbirth education, midwifery practice, and breastfeeding.
  • The Midwife's Assistant: This website offers a variety of resources for midwives, including articles, videos, and online courses.
  • Evidence Based Birth: This website provides evidence-based information on childbirth and midwifery practice.
  • Midwifery Today E-News: This is a free email newsletter for midwives that provides articles, news, and resources on a regular basis.
  • All Nurses: This website has a dedicated section for midwives where they can interact with other midwives, share information, and learn about new developments in the field.