Types of Midwife Practitioners

Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)
A Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is an individual educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery. Essentially a Nurse Practitioner type of professional who specializes in the pregnancy and birthing processes. CNMs are graduates of an accredited nurse-midwifery education program, board-licensed, independent health care providers with prescriptive authority in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Under federal law, CNMs are considered primary care providers. CNMs can deliver at home, in the hospital or in birthing centers.

Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM)
A direct-entry midwife is an independent practitioner educated in the discipline of midwifery through self-study, apprenticeship, a midwifery school, a college, or university-based program distinct from the discipline of nursing. A direct-entry midwife is trained primarily in out-of-hospital settings. Direct-entry midwives typically attend home births, although some work in birth centers. DEM’s who later meet the standards for certification by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) become certified professional midwives (CPMs).

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 midwifery credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings. Twenty six states now recognize CPMs in statute, 24 through licensure. CPMs are not currently licensed in Kentucky. CPMs predominantly attend births in homes and birth centers.

Certified Midwife (CM)
A Certified midwife is an individual who has a degree in a health related field other than nursing and graduated from an accredited midwifery education program. These graduates take the same national certification examination as CNMs but receive the professional designation of certified midwife. Because CM is a newer pathway to midwifery, few state legislatures recognize the certification. CMs are licensed to practice in Delaware, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

Lay/Traditional Midwife
A lay midwife is an individual who is not certified or licensed as a midwife but has been trained informally through self-study or apprenticeship. Typically they are called traditional or community-based midwives. They typically believe that midwifery is a social contract between the midwife and client/patient, and should not be legislated. Lay midwives are the main attendants at home births. •