Essential facts about midwives

Essential facts about midwives: Delaware Valley OBGYN blog

Certified nurse midwives provide care for pregnancy and well woman care beyond pregnancy. Here are a few interesting facts about midwifery in the US from the American College of Nurse Midwives.

There are thousands of midwives in the US delivering hundreds of thousands of babies a year.

  • There were 11,194 CNMs (certified nurse midwives) and 97 CM (certified midwives without a nursing degree) in the country as of May 2014.
  • There were In 2014,  332,107 midwife-attended births in the US, slightly more than in  2013. The vast majority ( > 90%) were attended by CNMs.
  • Midwives account for 12.1% of all vaginal births, and 8.3% of total US births.

Midwives also provide womens health care outside of pregnancy

  • CNMs are independent health care practitioners who are licensed and able to write prescriptions in all 50 states, including  DC, Samoa, Guam and Puerto Rico.
  • Federal law considers CNMs to be primary care providers
  • Over half of midwives considered reproductive health care to be their primary responsibility and a third consider primary care as their main role.

Most midwives work in a hospital setting in collaboration with obstetricians

  • Over 94% of midwife attended births occur in hospital settings
  • Over half of midwives are employed by physician groups or hospitals

Midwifery care is usually covered by health insurance 

  • Medicaid programs as well as most states are required to cover deliveries attended by midwives 

Midwives hold graduate degrees and are required to go through an accreditation process

  • There are 39 training programs for nurse midwives in the US and they receive their accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
  • 82% of CNMs hold a master’s degree; a graduate degree has been an entry requirement into midwifery since 2010.
  • Almost 5% of CNMs hold doctoral degrees, the highest proportion of all groups of advanced practice nurses.