What Is A Midwife?
Quite literally, the word midwife means 'with woman'. Traditionally, a midwife has been a woman who assists other women when giving birth to their children.
International Definition of a Midwife
Adopted by the International Confederation of Midwives 19 July 2005
A midwife is a person who, having been regularly admitted to a midwifery educational program, duly recognized in the country in which it is located, has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practice midwifery.
The midwife is recognized as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to provide care for the newborn and the infant.
This care includes preventive measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in mother and child, the accessing of medical or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures.
The midwife has an important task in health counseling and education, not only for the woman, but also within the family and community. This work should involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood and may extend to women’s health, sexual or reproductive health and childcare.
A midwife may practice in any setting including in the home, the community, hospitals, clinics or health units.
What is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)
A Certified Professional Midwife is a knowledgeable, skilled and professional independent midwifery practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and is qualified to provide the midwifery model of care. The CPM is the only international credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings.
The Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential requires that all candidates demonstrate successful mastery of both the didactic information and clinical experience components. The didactic component must include either education in a program accredited by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) or ACNM Certification Council (ACC), or completion of PEP, a competency-based education program. Each candidate must also complete a clinical component that is at least one year in length and equivalent to 1350 contact hours under the supervision of one or more approved preceptors. Recertification every three years is required of all CPMs.
What is the Midwifery Model of Care?
Midwives Model of Care™
The Midwives Model of Care™ is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life events. The Midwives Model of Care includes:
monitoring the physical, psychological and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
minimizing technological interventions and; identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention
The application of this model has been proven to reduce to incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.
The Midwives Model of Care definition above is Copyright © 1996-2001, Midwifery Task Force, All Rights Reserved.
The American Public Health Association (APHA) and The World Health Organization (WHO) on Midwifery
.... 'In terms of quality, satisfaction, and costs, the midwifery model for pregnancy and maternity care has been found to be beneficial to women and families, resulting in good outcomes and cost savings… With focus on pregnancy as a normal life event and health promotion for women of all ages, the midwifery model of care is an appropriate alternative or complement to the medical approach to childbirth.'
~ American Public Health Association, Supporting Access to Midwifery Services in the United States (Position Paper), American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 91, No. 3, March 2001.
...'Midwives are the most appropriate primary health care provider to be assigned to the care of normal birth.'
~ Maternal and Newborn Health/Safe Motherhood Unit of the World Health Organization, Care in Normal Birth: A practical guide. World Health Organization, 1996.
You can read and download a copy of
Care in Normal Birth: A Practical Guide
Report of a Technical Working Group
Maternal and Newborn Health/Safe Motherhood
Division of Reproductive Health
World Health Organization
Every country in the world who has lower maternal and infant mortality rates than the United States has universal health care AND midwives attending the majority of normal births! Read the CIMS Fact Sheet:
Midwives - Essential For Affordable and Effective Maternity care
NOW Resolution: Expansion of Reproductive Freedom to Include Midwives Model of Care (From the Citizens For Midwifery website)
Midwives In Texas...
There are two types of midwives which may legally practice in the state of Texas: Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) and Licensed Midwives (LM). Some CNMs and LMs may also be Certified Professional Midwives (CPM). For a
chart explaining the differences between CNMs and LMs click here.
Please Note: You may read the term 'Lay Midwife' on web sites from outside of Texas, or hear the term from a physician, CNM, or hospital personnel. However, lay-midwifery is illegal in the State of Texas. Licensed and/or Certified Professional Midwives are not lay midwives. Some health care providers are are unaware of this fact and do not understand the difference.
Midwifery in Texas: Safety, Regulation and Need reflects, with only slight modification of format, research done by Kathy Rateliff at the request of the Association of Texas Midwives (ATM). Kathy conducted her research under contractual agreement with ATM, and this document is the result of the compilation of her research. Plans are being made for a subsequent edition of this document, which will feature expansion of content and standardization of the annotation and citation schemes currently employed.
Midwifery in Texas: Safety, Regulation and Need
To learn more about Licensed Midwives in Texas, or about the Texas Department of State Health Services Texas Midwifery Board, visit the TDSHS Midwifery Board Home Page at: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/midwife/default.shtm
For a free consultation contact:
Midwifery Services of South Texas
© Copyright 2007 Midwifery Services of South Texas
Permission to reprint pregnancy and childbirth information contained within this website with attribution
No photographs may be copied or used without written permission