Nurse Midwife

Job Description


Advanced practice registered nurses who provide counseling and care before, during and after pregnancy and childbirth are Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs).

They provide counseling services and care from pre-conception, through pregnancy and childbirth and into the postpartum period.

CNMs and their colleagues, including certified midwives (CMs) also provide primary health care that is family-oriented throughout the reproductive lives of their women clients.




The need for high-tech interventions for women during labor can be reduced by the services of a skilled midwife.

Midwives are also trained to assist in normal deliveries by utilizing the latest scientific procedures. CNMs attend approximately 10 percent of all non-induced vaginal births in the United States.

At all births in general, you will find a Certified Nurse-Midwife in attendance at 7 percent of them. A full 97 percent of these deliveries occur in hospitals, 1.8 percent happen in freestanding birth centers and 1 percent occur at home.

A common misconception is that midwives do nothing but assist with births. Unfortunately that just isn't true. Nurse Midwifery responsibilities require a whole lot of responsibility, and the education to become a Nurse Midwife can be extensive, due to their core responsibilities. Being in attendance at the birth is an integral and rewarding part of the job but it is only a fraction of what midwives actually do. CNMs/CMs spend about 10 percent of their time giving direct care to women who give birth and their newborns afterward.

CNMs/CMs also provide routine care to women, in addition to the services they provide before, during and after pregnancy and childbirth. Approximately 90 percent of all the patient visits to a CNMs/CMs are for primary and/or preventive care. Routine gynecological services that may be provided by CNMs/CMs include:

  • Reproductive health visits and screenings

  • Annual exams and other regular gynecologic care

  • Peri-/post-menopausal management care

CNMs/CMs are highly trained, skilled health professionals who provide services in a variety of clinical settings. They diagnose and treat patients as well as providing referrals to a specialist when needed.

The CNM/CM is a vital member of the health care team. They collaborate closely with physicians to provide women with an optimal combination of primary and preventative care, which includes specialized serviced as needed.

Midwives come from all backgrounds and walks of life. Some earn their midwifery degree immediately after they graduate from college.

Others are former professionals in other areas, such as teaching, writing, missionary work, or general practice nursing who begin their midwife careers later.




Physical Endurance

Must be able to stand for long hours and move around constantly, as they are on their feet all the time and need to be able to respond quickly to situations as they arise.

Stress Management

They must manage the stress and pressure that comes with their job.


Being able to relate to patients on an emotional level and understand what they go through is super important for CNM/CMs because interact with women in vulnerable and painful situations.


Must be able to situate tasks and documents so as not to mix up records or medications.


They must communicate between patients and their families so they have to communicate clearly and relay information at a high level.


Becoming a nurse midwife and advancing in the field takes time, so it's important to take it slow and easy and save yourself a ton of anxiety.


Must pay close attention to handling drugs to avoid a mix up that may seriously harm a patient.

Critical Thinking

Must constantly be devising new ways of interacting with people, adapt to changes, and learn about the things a medical professional needs to know.


Working Conditions


CNMs and CMs may work in any of the following settings:

  • Private practice

  • Hospitals

  • Birthing centers

  • General health care clinics

  • Home birthing services

The opportunities for employment as a CNM or CM can be found in many different locales and environments, but there is an especially acute need for CNMs/CMs in areas that are underserved by all health professions in general.

Some of the different career opportunity options for CNMs/CMs include the following:

  • Clinical practice

  • Education

  • Administration

  • Research

  • Domestic and global health policy, including legislative affairs

  • Public hospitals

  • Private practices, including in-home birthing services

  • University settings, including teaching hospitals

  • Military hospitals and clinics

  • Public health clinics

  • International health programs and charities

The hours that a CNM/CM may work during a typical week will vary, depending on the type of care provided and the location. 



Salary Outlook