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How to Become a Nurse Midwife

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Registered nurses who have graduated, received their nursing pin, and are interested in pregnancy in all its stages can opt to become a certified nurse midwife or CNM. Essentially, a CNM is an advanced care RN who provides nursing care and counseling to expectant mothers before, during, and sometimes after pregnancy. They also give primary health care to women and their families throughout their reproductive lives.

Nurse midwives can work in hospitals, community clinics, and private practices. To know more on a possible future in this nursing specialization, read on below:

What they do

A CNM primarily provides care for and assists pregnant women during labor and delivery, although they may also do prenatal visits and check-ups for low-risk expectant mothers. They may also provide continued care for both the mother and child post-partum through education on certain relevant topics like breastfeeding and child-rearing, as well as counseling. Midwives tend to work independently, however, most CNMs can be found working with obstetric physicians and gynecologists to assist in other forms of reproductive treatment and education.

Job Growth

There is definitely a rising demand for certified nurse midwives. With the average projected growth for all positions nationwide being at 11%, the projected job growth for CNMs is certainly faster at 29% between the years 2012 to 2022. In fact, even when compared to the average job growth projected for RNs (which is at 19%), the job growth projection for CNMs is still significantly faster, making this nursing specialization very fertile indeed for prospective RNs who are still undecided on their preferred area of focus.


CNMs are among the most highly paid in the nursing profession, with an average salary that’s just below Nurse Practitioners and far above regular registered nurses. It’s worth noting, however, that the type of employer, as well as the state where the CNM practices, are both factors that determine the salary offered to the nurse-midwife.

How to become a Nurse Midwife

Student nurses wanting to become nurse midwifes in the United States need to be equipped with more than just their nursing pins after graduating. After graduating nursing school and attending their pinning ceremony, nurses have to pass the national qualifying exam prepared by the American Midwifery Certification Board or AMCB. In order to be allowed to take that exam, you must first complete a CNM program that is accredited by the ACME or the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. CNM programs are graduate-level courses opened only to licensed RNs who have already obtained a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), which typically take at least 24 months to complete.

Nurses who complete a CNM program are often usually eligible for certification as a Nurse Practitioner, as well, without the need for additional coursework. This is due to the fact that there is plenty of overlap between the nurse practitioner’s women’s health programs and nurse midwife programs.

With their training and experience with normal deliveries, Certified Nurse-Midwives can help cut down on the necessity of expensive interventions during childbirth. Not only does this benefit the mother and child’s health and safety during delivery, it also cuts down on more expenses that would undoubtedly come with delivery options. 


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