What is a Midwife?
The term "midwife" means "with woman." Midwives are health professionals trained to provide women's health care, prenatal care, labor and delivery assistance to women, after birth care, and care of the newborn. Midwives have been giving care to women since the beginning of time and can be found practicing in all countries. Midwives are experts in the care of normal, healthy women and view pregnancy as a normal physiological stage in a woman's life. They strive to help women have a healthy pregnancy and birth through education about their bodies and how to maximize their health during pregnancy. Midwifery care is focused on supporting what is normal and minimizing unnecessary intervention. Midwifery care is woman-centered; our goal is to ensure that each woman has the birth experience she desires, whatever that means to her.
In the state of Indiana, there are two kinds of midwives: certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified direct entry midwives (CDEMs).
What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife?
A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is someone who has been trained as a registered nurse, and then obtains a graduate degree in the field of nurse-midwifery, focusing on women's health, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care. CNMs attend deliveries in hospitals, birth centers, and homes.
Nurse-mdiwives have prescription authority in all 50 states and can provide gynecological, family planning, and primary care to their clients. In Indiana, CNMs are independent and interdependent practitioners who work in collaboration relationships with healthcare providers throughout all disciplines as appropriate to the client's needs. A written collaboration with a physician is required if the nurse-midwife desires prescription privileges; however, this written collaboration need only be specific to prescriptions, not the extension of midwifery care.
Certified Direct Entry Midwives were first recognized in an Indiana statute in July of 2013. This pathway for midwifery does not require nursing education, and is exclusive to the home setting. CDEMs are regulated by the medical licensing board; therefore, practicing midwifery without being licensed as a nurse-midwife continues to be a felony in the state of Indiana.