Life’s Journey Offers the Highest Level of Certified Midwife Care

What is a Midwife?

A certified midwife is a health care professional who has completed specialized training in women's reproductive health care services. Certified nurse-midwives have a master's degree in an accredited education program, and they are certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) or the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). A midwife is not a medical doctor.

Other classifications of midwife include Direct-Entry Midwife and Lay Midwife. These individuals are not certified through a professional organization, but have received training in midwifery through self-study, apprenticeship, or a midwifery academic program.

There are three categories of certified midwives with varying degrees of training, certification, and accreditation.

  • Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM). A licensed nurse who is also trained and certified in midwifery. Typically, a nurse-midwife has a bachelor's degree in Nursing and a master's degree in Midwifery. CNMs are certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives and by the American Midwifery Certification Board.
  • Certified Midwife (CM). Has earned an undergraduate degree and is also trained and certified in midwifery. CMs are certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
  • Certified Professional Midwife (CPM). Has completed training in midwifery and is certified by the North American Registry of Midwives' (NARM). Certification is based on educational and experiential background.

At Penn Highlands Life's Journey, we are proud that all of our compassionate, highly skilled midwives have attained the level of Certified Nurse-Midwife. Every Life's Journey Certified Nurse-Midwife has achieved the highest levels of academic training coupled with many years of experience.

Midwife vs. Doula

Unlike certified midwives, who are trained to provide various levels of medical care providers, a doula is limited to the provision of emotional support and guidance to parents during pregnancy, birth, and after birth. Doulas are prohibited from offering medical advice. There are no licensing requirements to act as a doula.

What Does a Midwife Do?

A Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) offers the most comprehensive scope of health care services to women, including helping healthy women deliver their baby at home, at a birthing center, or at a hospital.

CNM services include:

  • Annual gynecological exams and Pap smears
  • Order and interpret tests
  • Medication prescription
  • Family planning services
  • Health Education programs
  • Nutrition education
  • Prenatal care and postpartum care
  • Labor and delivery support
  • Newborn care
  • Menopausal management

Certified Professional Midwife Provides Limited Services

A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) provides a limited scope of services, including prenatal and postpartum care, childbirth, and limited follow-up care for the mother and baby after deliver. They are not authorized to prescribe medications. CPMs provide services at a birthing center or at the patient's home.

What is the Difference Between a Midwife and an OB/GYN?

An OB/GYN is a medical doctor who specializes in obstetrics, which is pregnancy related care, and gynecology, which involves all women's health issues. In addition to performing the same services as a certified midwife, an OB/GYN has advanced training in:

  • Surgical procedures
  • Management of pregnancy-related complications
  • Disorders of the reproductive system