A midwife specializes in caring for pregnant women and their unborn children. Midwives deliver babies, provide initial newborn care, and may serve as a woman’s primary healthcare and gynecologic care provider. Depending on state regulations, a midwife may be a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), certified midwife (CM), certified professional midwife (CPM), or an uncertified and unlicensed lay midwife with minimal formal training.
The practice of midwifery varies greatly depending on state regulations and the education, training and certification of the midwife.
A midwife may:
Evaluate a patient’s medical history
Educate a patient about pregnancy; reproductive medical conditions; general health conditions, such as diabetes and thyroid disease; and strategies for birth and treatment of medical conditions
Provide care during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum (after delivery)
Refer or transfer patients to a doctor’s care as needed, such as for high-risk or complicated pregnancy, labor, delivery, or postpartum condition of the mom or baby
Perform reproductive health and cancer screenings including pelvic exams, Pap tests, breast exams, and sexually transmitted disease testing
Diagnose and treat certain acute and chronic diseases and conditions that affect women’s health and reproduction, including infertility and menopause, as allowed by state regulations. Midwives will refer patients to a doctor for further care if needed.
Screen, treat and monitor a range of conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, high-risk behaviors, and sexual dysfunction, as allowed by state regulations. Midwives will refer patients to a doctor for further care if needed.
Provide family planning and contraceptive counseling
Order and interpret laboratory and imaging tests and prescribe medications, as allowed by state regulations
Licensed and certified midwives may be known as a nurse-midwife, certified nurse-midwife (CNM), licensed midwife (LM), certified midwife (CM), and certified professional midwife (CPM).
Unlicensed and uncertified midwives may be known as a lay midwife, traditional midwife, traditional birth attendant, granny midwife, and independent midwife.
There are 1185 specialists practicing Midwifery in California with an overall average rating of 4.1 stars. There are 32 hospitals in California with affiliated Midwifery specialists, including Dominican Hospital, Mission Hospital - Mission Viejo and Saddleback Medical Center.