How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife - New Grad Nurse Consultants
How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife
A certified nurse midwife is not just a certified midwife, they are registered nurses. You can become a CNM if you are interested in women’s gynecological health combined with providing prenatal and postnatal care. A CNM is considered to be an APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse), as they complete a specific academic course.

What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?

A Certified Nurse Midwife looks after women’s reproductive health and resolves issues of childbirth, post-partum complications, or care. A CNM knows how to provide preventive women’s health maintenance. A certified nurse midwife has a holistic view when providing care to patients. Unlike doctors, a CNM looks after the patient’s psychological health because he/she receives comprehensive training.To become a Certified Nurse Midwife, an applicant must apply for the accredited nurse midwifery program. The applicant must qualify the certification examination in nurse midwifery/midwifery according to the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) guidelines.

Why Are Certified Nurse Midwives So Important?

Certified nurse midwives benefit pregnant women in different ways. It is essential to apply for state licensure to practice as a CNM. According to the AMCB, the following benefits have been noticed of this program.
  • Reduction in the rate of cesarean births
  • Reduction in the rate of labor induction/augmentation
  • Reduction in 3rd/4th-degree perineal tears
  • Reduction in use of regional anesthesia
  • Increase in rates of breastfeeding
  • Receiving prenatal education
  • Fewer requirements for invasive or technological interventions
Healthcare expenses are significantly reduced due to the following reasons.
  • Better access to patients’ care
  • Reduction in requirement of
    • Invasive medical interventions
    • Cesarean sections
    • Pharmacological pain management interventions

What’s the Difference Between a CNM and CM?

A Certified Midwife (CM) graduates from the midwifery program and receives a healthcare certificate. Unlike a CM, CNM graduates from the nurse midwifery program and receives a degree. Therefore, certified midwives are not registered nurses, and their professional designation is different.

How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife?

  • Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN): You need to apply for the Nurse Midwifery program instead of the Midwifery Program. You must qualify at the NCLEX-RN examination to become a certified RN and to practice as a professional.
  • Applying to Nurse Midwifery Program: After qualifying the NCLEX-RN examination, you need to apply to the nurse midwifery programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). You need to apply for a graduate-level certification program, and the applicants must have a GPA score of 3.0.
  • Taking the Certified Nurse Midwifery Exam: You must qualify the certified nurse midwifery exam after completing the AMCB administered nurse midwifery program. It tests your knowledge of gynecology and the antepartum/intrapartum/postpartum period. Additionally, you need to learn about new-born care or women’s health and primary care. You need to renew the certification after every five years to meet the additional ‘continuing education’ contact hours
  • Applying for State Licensure: You need to apply for state licensure as a certified nurse midwife. You should be aware of the specific licensing requirements before applying.

What Is the Career Outlook for a Nurse Midwife?

The certified nurse midwives have a promising career according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. This field is expected to grow by 31% by 2024. This projected growth is due to an increase in the number of healthcare consumers, a shortage in the number of physicians, and increased requirements for preventive health maintenance. Today, many would-be parents look for alternative birthing options that do not involve conventional treatment at a hospital. Hence, the employment outlook is extremely positive for a CNM.A certified nurse midwife has the opportunity to work in different healthcare settings for women. They have the opportunity to take on patients on their own in some of the states. Hence a CNM has the opportunity to shape their career.

What is the Salary for Nurse Midwives?

A certified nurse midwife has a lucrative and rewarding career. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (March 2019) reports, the average hourly wage of a CNM is $51.40.The salary of a CNM differs across states. According to BLS;
  • California is the highest-paying state with an average annual wage of $154,500.
  • Massachusetts is the second highest-paying state with the average annual wage of $121,980.
  • The hourly wage is $71.07 in CA metropolitan areas (San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward).
  • The average annual wage is $129,130 ($62.08 hourly wage) in Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim areas.
Top 5 highest paying states for CNM (according to BLS) are as follows.
  • California-$154,500
  • Minnesota-$121,980
  • New York-$120,380
  • Mississippi-$119,640
  • Maryland-$118,240

What are the Responsibilities and Duties of a Certified Nurse Midwife?

A Certified Nurse Midwife helps women through their pregnancy and delivery to ensure health childbirth.
  • A CNM provides prenatal and postpartum treatment and general healthcare for women.
  • They can treat the new-borns in the first few months of their lives.
  • A CNM can evaluate and manage the birth-control methods for a woman.
  • They can provide general gynecological care and preventive care.
  • They are allowed to prescribe medications, medical devices, and treatments.
  • A CNM may work as a healthcare guide for different age-groups of female patients (from adolescent women to menopausal women).

Where Can I Learn More About Nurse Midwives?

You can explore niche websites of the following institutes to find CNM career data
  • American College of Nurse Midwives. It works as the representative for Certified Nurse Midwife.
  • The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA). It is a professional midwifery association that unites and strengthens all midwives. It is dedicated to the professional development of midwives by providing education in innovative ways.

Where Can I Find the Best Nurse Midwife Jobs?

It is not difficult for a trained Certified Nurse Midwife to find a suitable job because there is a strong demand for nurses across the nation since a large portion of the workforce is reaching the age of retirement.Today, it is not crucial for a CNM to work at a hospital, as there are other available options. Many experienced Certified Nurse Midwives run private practices in partnership with the obstetricians/gynecologists (OB/GYN) or on their own. You can search for the current CNM openings in the locality/state websites.The demand for CNM will continue to grow in the future, as the number of families, who are looking for a natural and positive birth experience, is increasing at a steady pace. This profession enables you to promote wellness in women and new-borns and facilitates safe deliveries.