So, you’re interested in becoming a midwife, but you’re not sure what the job entails? You may have heard that midwives are just nurses who have a license to do more births, but that’s far from the truth—a midwife can do many other things.

Knowing More About Midwives

Anytime you see an ob-gyn, you immediately know you’re talking about a doctor who specializes in women’s reproductive health. But midwives are different. While “doctor” has a particular meaning, “midwife” can be used to refer to anyone who is qualified to perform a medical procedure, including the delivery of babies.

A midwife’s extensive duties are quite varied and can include anything from giving birth to performing c-sections, assisting with complicated births, and helping with postpartum hormone regulation in a woman who is breastfeeding. While there is much that midwives can do, the birth itself is only one part of a midwife’s work.

If you’re thinking about having a child, a midwife can help guide you through the process. A midwife is a person who has received additional formal education in preparation for childbirth and women’s health care. Midwives are not medical practitioners. They do not diagnose or treat illnesses and have no control over pregnancy or birth outcomes.

Types of Midwives

Although they are not doctors, many midwives have the same goals as physicians: to ensure that the mother and child are healthy and that the birth is a healthy and straightforward one. What makes them different is the way they do this. Midwives don’t have medical licenses, so they can’t prescribe medicine. Still, they should be able to do most things a physician can do, including taking histories of the mother, provide prenatal care and physical exams, and attend the birth.

Here are the following different types of midwives:

• Certified Nurse Midwives — Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) have been able to help women who have had miscarriages, are pregnant with multiple pregnancies, or are experiencing health issues related to pregnancy by following certain guidelines and procedures. They also have to take care of the mother and newborn, which may include assisting a doctor in a hospital setting.

• Certified Midwives — Certified midwives are a type of midwives that are fully licensed, have undergone additional training, and have passed a difficult certification examination. Certified midwives appear before the courts to provide legal testimony on behalf of mothers and attend births and prenatal care visits. They perform an array of medical and prenatal procedures, including performing cesarean sections, assisting in labor, and assisting in the delivery of the baby.

• Certified Professional Midwives — Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) are midwives who have met the rigorous educational and other requirements to become a Certified Professional Midwife. CPMs are well-educated midwives who have undergone rigorous training in midwifery. They may work independently or with a practice as part of a collaborative team. CPMs have a unique set of skills and are especially well-suited to working with community-based birth centers.

• Direct Entry Midwives — works in the same kind of way as a traditional midwife, but without the need to be registered with the GMC. These midwives are neither GPs nor physicians but have trained to work with women to give birth and are usually women themselves. They find that contact with these midwives is more personal, and their work is more rewarding than in a hospital setting.

• Lay Midwives — is a type of midwife who offers a uni-professional birth service, and they tend to be located within hospitals, midwifery-led independent birth centers, or private practices.  Lay Midwives are not licensed, and they do not have any formal education beyond the completion of a midwifery diploma.

• Doulas — is an advocate for birth and pregnancy. If you plan to have a baby, a doula may help by providing emotional support during labor and delivery. A doula may also help you learn about labor and delivery techniques. They may also be emotional support during postpartum care.

Midwives are trained to be the first point of contact for women who are having difficulties during pregnancy. Some midwives specialize in high-risk births, and others are generalists who provide midwifery services to women of all ages. Regardless of their specific specialty, midwives are trained to provide medical care as well as emotional support.