Utah State Affiliate

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)?

Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are licensed health care practitioners educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery. We provide primary health care to women including: prenatal care, labor and delivery care, care after birth, gynecological exams, assistance with family planning decisions, preconception care, fertility management, menopausal management and counseling in health maintenance and disease prevention. The midwifery model of care is based on the belief that pregnancy and birth are normal processes within the lifetime of a woman’s health care needs.


What is the difference between a CNM and other midwives in Utah?

Throughout history, the ancient word “midwife” has been used to describe women who are "with women" at birth. Contemporary usage associates this word with a philosophy of care that focuses on the needs of each woman and her family, offers a variety of options, and minimizes unnecessary intervention. CNMs blend the supportive care women have come to expect with current scientific knowledge (which includes close collaboration with the medical community) and has grown to encompass well woman care.

Many midwives in Utah today are CNMs, others are Direct Entry Midwives (DEMs) and some practice with no official state licensure (often called Lay Midwives). This variety of titles used to label midwifery practices can be confusing for consumers. Additional discussion about the types of midwives is available at the American Pregnancy Association web site: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/laborbirth.html.

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) believes that, in the United States, all midwives should graduate from an accredited midwifery education program that is affiliated with an institution of higher education. There is a great discussion about midwifery in the US at http://www.mymidwife.org/about.cfm.

All CNMs in the U.S. have earned at least a bachelor's degree, while over 70% hold a master's degree or higher. Utah requires all the CNMs to have a bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a master’s degree in Midwifery. After successfully passing a national certification exam supervised by the ACNM, we are licensed by the state of Utah. CNMs maintain continued competency by completing educational updates annually.

How do I know that I will get safe care from a midwife?

The American College of Nurse-Midwives believes that midwives should be licensed to practice and should provide their clients with a safe mechanism for consultation, collaboration and referral if needed. In Utah, CNMs have been practicing since 1965. The Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing under the Nurse-Midwifery Practice Act regulate nurse-midwifery practice. Utah CNMs have had prescription writing authority since 1982

Where will I have my baby if I chose a CNM?

CNMs in Utah are licensed to attend hospital and birth center births. The vast majority of CNMs in Utah attend hospital births.

Why should I choose a Nurse-Midwife if I’m not pregnant?

CNMs offer a variety of health care services and high quality health care for women. They are very interested in promoting healthy lifestyles for all women. Midwives care for adolescents, women of childbearing age and women during menopause. They emphasize teaching about risk factors and self care practices that aid in disease prevention. CNMs are thorough in obtaining a patients health information and pride themselves on gentle examinations. They encourage patients to ask questions and give time for the answers. CNMs provide age appropriate laboratory and screening exams, birth control counseling and implementation, healthy lifestyle teaching, prescriptions and follow-up exams.

Should you be diagnosed with a medical condition that requires specialized treatment, they have referral relationships with many excellent health care providers in various specialties. The U.S. government’s top scientific organization, the Institute of Medicine has recommended that “more reliance be placed on certified nurse-midwives” in delivering primary health care.

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