What Type Of Midwife Do You Have - Cnm Cpm Cm Lay Dem
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What Type Of Midwife Do You Have?

What Type Of Midwife Do You Have - Dem, Cpm, Cm, Cnm, Lays And Doulas

You’re already probably aware of the critical role that your midwife will play in the delivery of your newborn baby but did you know there are a number of different types of midwives?

In this article, we will unbundle the CNM’s from the CPM’s and explain the differences between your DEMS and your LAYS.

Though the terminology we use will focus on midwives in the United States. Many of the terms you’ll see below can be linked to similar midwife positions in other countries.

So lets get onto our list

Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM)⁣⁣

  • A CNM is a registered Nurse who receives additional training in pregnancy & birth. Offers complete prenatal care as well as attending births ⁣⁣
  • Has a degree in nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited institution, & a Master’s degree in nurse-midwifery
  • Certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM)
  • Eligible to become licensed in all 50 states
  • Can practice in hospitals & OB offices, but scope also allows to provide care in any birth setting ⁣⁣
  • Cannot perform c/s, & most cases do not perform assisted births, generally care for low-risk pregnancies. Most deliver in hospitals & are affiliated with an MD

Certified Midwives (CM)⁣⁣

Midwife Qualifications - Includes Dem, Cpm, Cm, Cnm, Lays And Doulas
Though Different Midwife Qualifications Can Be Confusing They All Have An Important Role To Play
  • A CM Offers complete prenatal care & attend births⁣⁣
  • Has a bachelor’s degree – but not in nursing. Master’s degree in nurse-midwifery
  • Certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM)
  • Relatively new speciality – Currently only NY, RI, DE, HI, ME and NJ license ⁣⁣
  • Similar scope of practice to CNM

Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs)⁣⁣

  • A CPM fffers complete prenatal care & attends births. Works independently w/ women at home/birth centres
  • Do not have to hold a specific degree or be a Registered Nurse. A high school diploma is the min requirement. ⁣⁣
  • Experience may be gained through formal programs, apprenticeships, or a combo of both⁣ ⁣
  • Is the only midwifery credential that requires knowledge about & experience in out-of-hospital settings
  • Must pass a competency test by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM)⁣⁣
  • Licensed & regulated in 31 states (in the US)

Direct Entry Midwives (DEM)⁣⁣

  • A DEM offers complete prenatal care & specialize in homebirth & birth centres⁣
  • Practices independently & have learned midwifery through a midwifery school, apprenticeship or college program
  • No national licensing or certification is available. Each state has its own legal requirements for education and licensing (if any)⁣⁣
  • Traditional/Lay/Empirical/Community-Based Midwives⁣⁣
  • Not certified or licensed as a midwife but has received informal training through self-study/apprenticeship
  • Training not regulated, therefore abilities may vary
  • Generally do not deliver babies in hospital

LAY Midwives (LAY)

  • A LAY is generally not considered a medical professional.
  • The training, certification and ability of lay midwives may vary since most states have no single, established curriculum, training, or uniform certification process.
  • Lay midwives are generally not viewed as part of the mainstream medical community and often work with people who practise alternative medicine.
  • With few exceptions, lay midwives don’t deliver babies in hospitals. Most may deliver babies in peoples homes.


We’ll include Doulas on our list as although a doula is generally not considered a midwife, they still play an important role in assisting the mother right before the birth and during labour and delivery.

  • Doulas provide emotional and physical support to the mother and can also help educate them. However, they don’t provide medical care.
  • Doulas are available to the mother before birth to help come up with a birth plan and answer any questions the mother may have.
  • During childbirth, they will provide comfort to the mother by helping with breathing and relaxation.
  • Doulas will provide massage and help with labour positions.
  • After childbirth, the doula will help the mother with breastfeeding and may help during the postpartum period.

So there we have it. Who thought there could be such an interesting mix when it comes to midwifery! 🤗 You can read more on this topic if interested in midwidfery here.

For our own moms who have already given birth to little ones. Do you have any more experiences you can share?

Please let us know in our comments below.

Originally posted 2021-03-05 08:43:30.


Leave a Reply
  1. Is there a robust job market for CPMs? I’m an MSW with specialty in mental health during pregnancy, postpartum, and 0-3. I’ve thought about becoming a CPM so many times but I’m worried about job opportunities for CPMs. Any insight? I’m in MI if that makes a difference

  2. That’s funny when i decided to give birth normally with a midwife, I’m glad finally my husband understands that feeling comfortable is so important for me, my midwife is so patient and strong in the same time, she loves babies and we love her, 2 yO already and still connected now…

  3. To add to your awesome descriptions, midwives can also do more than just pregnancy and birth. We’re trained primary care providers for women from menarche and onward! I’m happy to sit and serve women at so many different stages of their life.
    In many states we also have independent authority. I see my own patients, write my own prescriptions. But I am very happy to work among other healthcare providers serving women that I can consult and collaborate with! Win-win for the women in the communities we serve 💜 thanks again for the post

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Written by Claire

Claire is our Community Manager here at New Moms Forum. A mom of two (almost grown-up babies), Claire has been building and operating community-based websites for almost 20 years. In her downtime, Claire enjoys spending time with her family and drinking copious amounts of red wine!

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