What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife?

A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is an advanced practice registered nurse (i.e. nurse practitioner) with specialized training in both nursing and midwifery.

What Credentials Do Nurse-Midwives Hold?

Certified Nurse-Midwives are fully-trained registered nurses (RN) and have completed a master’s level education program for nursing and midwifery. Nurse-Midwives are certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). CNMs in New Hampshire are licensed by the state board of nursing.

What Services Does a Nurse-Midwife Provide?

Nurse-midwives provide both pregnancy and routine gynecologic care for women from adolescence through the menopause transition.

Before and after pregnancy: Nurse-midwives advise about reproductive health, conception, contraception, personal care, and provide women’s health services such as yearly pelvic and breast exams, and pap smears. Healthy post-menopausal women can also use the services of a nurse-midwife.

During pregnancy: They monitor the health of mother and baby. Education is a key aspect of midwifery; nurse-midwives provide information about the stages of pregnancy, nutrition, exercise, childbirth methods, breast-feeding, infant health, and what to expect as a parent.

During labor: They support the labor process first-hand and evaluate the mother and baby’s progress. Should an abnormal situation develop, the nurse-midwife will contact the supporting physician, who is always readily available.

At birth: They assist the mother with delivery, examine the newborn, and help the family welcome the baby.

After delivery: The nurse-midwife provides follow-up care during the postpartum hospital stay and in the office after you have been sent home.

Do I Still See a Physician?

Midwives and doctors work closely together and share responsibility for each patient’s care. Throughout the pregnancy, midwives will consult with the physician on the patient’s progress. If special concerns develop, a physician will become more actively involved in the patient’s care, and the midwife will play a supporting role.

At Women’s Health Associates of Derry, an expecting mother will see each member of the provider team at least once during her pregnancy so that all are familiar with her condition. This way, the provider on call is aware of the patient’s particular needs and can ably assist her with labor and delivery.

A Special Note…

At Women’s Health Associates of Derry, our nurse-midwife does not perform home births. Our mothers and families will welcome their new baby (or babies!) at the family birthing center located within the hospital.

Nurse-midwives can order medications and will provide pain medication during labor and birth if requested and appropriate. Nurse-midwives traditionally encourage a natural birth, and frequently work with changes of position and relaxation techniques to ease discomfort.

Is a Midwife for Me?

Midwives typically spend more time with women – both during prenatal care and in labor – providing a continuous, supportive presence throughout. Midwives also encourage patients to see birth as a natural healthy process. They combine alternative forms of care such as relaxation techniques with modern, medical skills. Their goal is to help the mother feel that she is in control during this important time of her life.

Many women develop a special bond with their midwife. This bond can make asking questions easier and broaden a women’s awareness about pregnancy, labor, and infant care.

Women’s Health Associates of Derry’s patients may decide for themselves whether to see a physician or our nurse-midwife. Patients seeing our midwife may still request consultation with a doctor at any time. Through our “collaborative management” program, the strengths of doctors and midwife are combined to the benefit of the patient.

If you have questions about midwifery services, or would like to meet with a member of Women’s Health Associates team, please contact us.