What is the difference between a CNM, CPM, and traditional midwife?

Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) are registered nurses who have graduated from a nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) and have passed a national certification examination to receive the professional designation of certified nurse-midwife. Their education and practices are mostly hospital based, but they are able to provide care for births in hospital, home, and birth center settings.

Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) are professional independent midwifery practitioners who have met the certification requirements of the  North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). Applicants can qualify to take the NARM exam by either apprenticing with a qualified midwife and completing an Entry-Level Portfolio Evaluation Process or graduating from a midwifery program or school. If the program or school isn’t accredited by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council, applicants must complete the Entry-Level Portfolio Evaluation Program. The CPM is the only NCCA-accredited midwifery credential that includes a requirement for out-of-hospital experience. Click here to read our post dedicated to the education and training requirements set forth for CPMs.

Traditional Midwives, sometimes referred to as lay midwives or community midwives, are uncertified or unlicensed midwives who often have informal education, such as apprenticeships or self-study, rather than a formal education from accredited institutions.

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