Midwives are medical care providers with special training in obstetrics
and gynecology. Many midwives primarily provide prenatal care and deliver
babies, but most midwives do more, including offering women care throughout
life. Some midwives work independently, others work as part of a team.
In the United States, all midwives fall into one of three categories:
Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM), Certified Midwives (CM) or Certified Professional
What is the difference between each type of midwife?
Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) have a Master's or Doctorate degree
in Nursing and have completed an accredited program of midwifery education.
They must pass a national certification board examination and maintain
a nursing and midwifery license in the state where they practice and generally
provide care in hospitals, offices, birth centers and clinics. CNM's
can also prescribe medications. The majority of midwives in the United
States are Certified Nurse Midwives.
Certified Midwives (CM) usually have a college degree in something other
than nursing but complete an accredited program of midwifery education.
They too must pass a national certification exam and have a state midwifery
license. They work in many of the same areas as CNM's but do not have
a nursing background.
Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) are apprentice trained or have completed
an accredited midwifery education program. They typically work in birth
centers and homes. They do not take the same national certification exam
as CNM's and CM's. They do not prescribe medications and do not
work in hospitals.
What do Midwives do?
Most people think of delivery when they think of typical midwife duties.
Midwives certainly deliver babies, but we also do much more. The term
“midwife” means “with woman” which we are throughout
their life span. Meaning, we provide care during pregnancy, assist with
both vaginal and cesarean deliveries and provide any postpartum care a
new mother may require.
What most people do not know is that a midwife can help women with a variety
of non-pregnancy related care. Midwives can assist in choosing and initiating
a birth control method that may be best for a patient. We perform well-woman
gynecological exams. We can manage and assist with solutions that affect
women who experience heavy and/or painful periods. Midwives often assist
in easing a woman’s transition through menopause and beyond. CNM’s
and CM’s can prescribe medications, order tests and perform procedures.
Why should I choose a Midwife?
Midwives can provide care for you beginning in adolescence and continue
throughout your life. We understand normal processes and can recognize
problems that may develop. In addition to the specialized care previously
discussed, we promote healthy lifestyles and provide education and support.
We focus on best practices and evidence-based care. Our approach is centered
on individual needs that allow a patient to make informed choices.
If I have a Midwife while I am in labor, can I get pain medication?
Of course! Our goal is to ensure that you have a smooth labor and delivery,
and that you and your baby are healthy. Many women need medication and/or
an epidural and that is okay. Others prefer to try alternative comfort
measures such as use of labor balls and water therapy in a jacuzzi tub.
Some will do both. Either way, midwives are trained to assist any patient
with personalized choices and help support you through the entire pregnancy process.
What if I have a complication during labor or delivery?
Although CNM's are trained to handle normal processes and perform vaginal
deliveries, we are also able to recognize problems. We work closely with
OB/Gyn physicians who are always available for consultation and referral
when needed. CNM's and OB/Gyn physicians are all part of the same
team. And as your women's healthcare team, our goal is to make sure
you have the best healthcare services available to you, whether your needs
are basic and uncomplicated or high risk and complex.
What if I have a gynecological complication or need surgery?
If a gynecological complication arises that requires special procedures
or surgical intervention, there are physicians readily available for consultation
and referral. The physician will perform the procedure and keep the midwife
informed of results so that care can be continued with minimal interruption.
CaroMont is proud to employ several midwives who offer their services through
multiple practice locations.
Stephanie Gilliam, CNM at Ashley Women’s Center
Nancy Kuney, CNM at Ashley Women’s Center
Sarah Schubert, CNM at Ashley Women’s Center
Deborah Grigg, CNM at Gaston Women’s Healthcare
To learn more about Women’s Services at CaroMont Health, visit