Saluting Midwives

“The best part about being a midwife is developing relationships with so many people throughout their life. And having the privilege of being with people, especially first-time parents, at that moment when they become a family—nothing, to me, surpasses that.” So believes Karen Jefferson, DM, CM, FACNM, Director of Midwifery Practice and Education for the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

This is National Midwifery Week, spotlighting the challenges and triumphs of midwifery. How’s your knowledge of midwifery? Did you know…

  • Women in the U.S. are significantly more likely to die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth than in other rich, developed nations. According to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), maternal mortality rates in America are twice as high than in Canada and France, and 10 times higher than in New Zealand and Norway.
  • Midwifery is NOT a specialty of nursing; it’s a profession. Part of this misunderstanding is related to formal titling. There are two paths to certification by the American Midwifery Certification Board: either as a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) or as a Certified Midwife (CM).
  • Currently, CNMs are licensed in all 50 states. CMs are only licensed in nine, but the number is growing.
  • Maternal mortality rates are twice as high for Black women in America. “Reducing maternal and neonatal mortality, particularly for individuals of color, is a main focus of health policy work for CNMs/CMs,” says Mary R. Franklin, DNP, CNM, FACNM. “To address the health disparities in maternal and neonatal mortality, we need to educate and support more midwives of color. 
  • The majority of midwives in America work in hospitals; they also can work in birth centers, in private practice, in other health clinics, or in facilitating home births. 

Find out more about midwives here: Expert Interviews & Perspectives; APRN Resource Guides


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