Learn more about Midwives and how to choose the right one for you

Learn more about Midwives

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

  • Collaborate, refer and consult with other members of a woman’s healthcare team to provide comprehensive care. This includes obstetrician-gynecologists, perinatologists, anesthesiologists, surgeons, genetic counselors, oncologists, and social workers.

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 1122 specialists practicing Midwifery in California with an overall average rating of 4.1 stars. There are 31 hospitals in California with affiliated Midwifery specialists, including Dominican Hospital, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center- Laguna Hills.

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