What Is a Certified Nurse Midwife?

Janelle Drogowski, WHNP-BC, is a certified nurse-midwife who practices at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center. For more information on this topic, talk with your doctor or call 

Ms. Drogowski’s office at (623) 584-0800.

Question: I’ve heard about midwives and am intrigued, but I do not want to deliver my baby at home. What is a certified nurse-midwife?

Answer: To better appreciate the value of a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), it’s important to understand the philosophy behind midwifery. A midwife supports the health care of women throughout their lives, with particular attention to prenatal care, labor and delivery, and the postpartum needs of a mother and her newborn. A midwife’s goal is to create a very natural experience that is customized to a woman’s wants and health requirements, by minimizing clinical interventions and recognizing when a woman may require more advanced medical attention.

A CNM believes in the midwifery perspective but is also trained as a registered nurse specializing in women’s health and obstetrical care. CNMs hold graduate degrees in their specialty, and in most cases, can prescribe medication and treatments, utilize medical devices, and can diagnose conditions and determine appropriate therapies. A CNM can also deliver babies in a hospital setting and often works with OB/GYNs and other medical staff who are available to provide assistance as requested by the CNM. Further, the additional training required for CNMs allows them to provide care to women with higher-risk pregnancies in certain situations, while a midwife is typically matched with an expectant mother in a low-risk category.

Both CNMs and certified midwives must complete a series of academic and training requirements to achieve their certifications. However, a CNM usually provides care in a more traditional medical environment, creating a bridge between the clinical and the natural by helping patients take advantage of medical advancements while enjoying the benefits associated with midwifery. 

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