The Certified Professional Midwife, or CPM, receives her training in one of several midwifery schools accredited by Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC), as well as by working as an apprentice under a certified midwife. This “preceptor” oversees training and confirms that the apprentice has mastered critical skills.
In receiving her education as an apprentice, the midwife-in-training must provide documentation of this hands-on experience, plus pass both a written exam and oral exam to become licensed by NARM, the North American Registry of Midwives. The CPM is the only license which requires out-of-hospital experience. The key elements of this education, monitoring, and decision making process are based on evidenced-based practice and informed consent.
Most CPM’s have a practice doing deliveries at the homes of their clients or they may work in a birthing center.
CPM midwives are able to offer the mother-to-be more personal attention. They are generally not under the same time constrains and financial pressures of the OB-GYN and are able to spend more time with woman, both during her prenatal care and in the days and hours leading up to the birth. This allows the midwife and expectant mother to develop a friendship and personal bond of trust that plays such an important role in the process of natural childbirth.
In 1996, representatives from NARM and several other national midwife organizations came together to create a definition describing the care and services midwifes provide.
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.
(Midwives Model of Care definition is Copyrighted © by the Midwifery Task Force, all rights reserved)
The last item is of particular importance. The attentive midwife is able to identify when someone should be seen by a doctor and help determine if they are still a candidate for an out-of-hospital birth. The midwife can serve as an interface and an advocate for the pregnant mother with the doctor, guiding her to a natural delivery in a hospital setting, or in acknowledging when delivery by cesarean is called for.
For more information:
- Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) http://meacschools.org/
- North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) http://narm.org/
- Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) http://mana.org/
- Following is a list of midwifery resources and information about the midwifery laws in each U.S. state or territory.
- Finding a midwife near you http://www.mothersnaturally.org/midwives/findAMidwife.php