Celebrating Midwifery with Our Colleagues at ACNM

October 5–11 is National Midwifery Week, an event created by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) to recognize midwives. ACOG is proud to partner with ACNM to further our shared goals of improving women’s health and increasing access to care for all women.

ACOG believes that women should have options in selecting qualified providers of care. Collaboration between ob-gyns, certified nurse-midwives (CNMs), and certified midwives (CMs) can help both ob-gyns and midwives meet patients’ needs. CNMs and CMs make ideal partners for ob-gyns because of our shared commitment to safe, high-quality health care.

ACOG has long-recognized the educational and professional standards used by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB), which certifies CNMs and CMs. Recently, ACOG issued a statement recognizing the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Global Standards as the worldwide standards for midwifery education and licensure. ACOG’s statement also expresses support for ACNM, which also endorsed the ICM standards. Requiring all midwifery providers to meet the ICM standards will ensure a minimum level of qualification in all providers.

CNMs and CMs who are credentialed by AMCB meet the ICM standards, however, many certified professional midwives do not. ACOG is committed to working with ACNM to ensure that educational and training standards are applied universally across midwifery.

ACOG and ACNM are currently working at the state level to support legislation that will help implement the ICM principles in the US. States’ laws should require that all midwives meet the same education and training standards. This is the best way to ensure patient safety.

Join me this week in celebrating CNMs and CMs and their important partnership with ACOG.


This entry was posted in Women's Health and tagged , , by John C. Jennings, MD. Bookmark the permalink.

About John C. Jennings, MD

John C. Jennings, MD is the president of ACOG through April 2015. He is professor of ob-gyn at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin. Dr. Jennings was in private practice in San Angelo, TX, for 12 years before entering academic medicine. He has served as head of gynecology and program director of ob-gyn at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC; professor and program director of ob-gyn at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston; chair and program director of ob-gyn at TTUHSC at Amarillo; and regional dean of the school of medicine at TTUHSC at the Permian Basin.

22 thoughts on “Celebrating Midwifery with Our Colleagues at ACNM

  1. The ICM standards are based on physiologic birth, and respecting all birth settings, including home birth. How is ACOG preparing to support women who choose to birth at home?

  2. I am a former CPM student and current CNM student.
    Thank you for making the distinction about the increased quality and safety of care provided by CNMs and CMs.

  3. Will CNMs and physicians finally get the training they need and deserve with these standards? Specifically in deciding when vaginal exams are medically necessary, breech, shoulder distocia, and multiples delivery, natural pain relief, physiological pushing, delayed cord clamping, preventing hemorrhage, nutritional education, respecting a laboring woman, and other skills that CPMs are more likely to offer are hopefully in ICM Global Standards. I’m going to go look.

  4. So you are saying that CPM’s academic standards are not the same? Are you saying that I am not getting the proper academic training to call myself a CPM? I think you are beating around the bush and not answering my question directly. I will be registered with NARM as a midwife. The word “nurse” does not have to be in my credentials. As a CPM my education and training through apprenticeship qualifies me to practice Midwifery. Reply please.

  5. As labor nurse who chose a home birth with a CPM over delivery in the hospital I worked, I disagree with the way this statement attacks CPM. My CPM managed my complications more calmy, competantly and safely than any OB or midwife I had ever worked with. The reason I chose home birth was non evidence based practices I saw in hospital. It is a shame it came to that. I agree on having standards and education, but perhaps ACOG membere could train themselves on homebirth and working with midwives rather than the other way around. My state has a 41% c-section rate and bad outcomes for moms and babies. Let us work with and learn from each other.

    • What “non evidence based practices” did you see in hospital?

      I have yet to see a CPM website that doesn’t market all sorts of unvalidated nostrums, such as homeopathy, placenta medicine, craniosacral tx, “Power Birthing,” and the like.

      • I will give you just one example: Non consent! Any time a Dr. or OB has his hands in you without consent is considered rape. Or how about giving an episiotomy without consent or permission? Especially when the baby was not in distress, non dystocia or depressed heart tones and only 10 minutes had past since 2nd stage commenced? and a multiparas mother? Hmmmm?

    • Awesome! Thank you for writing this. And did you notice the new recommendations in England about home birthing over hospital birthing? It’s because of all the interventions used on “healthy” woman that they want to avoid in the hospital!! Well done Bridget for choosing home!

  6. Why don’t we use the influence of ACOG to create University based academic programs for midwives like the Canadian system and create a credentialing system for existing Non Nurse Midwifery programs. Train and lead don’t attack.

    • ACOG supports using the collaborative practice model and integrated systems of care with established criteria and provision for emergency intrapartum transport. These systems require open communication and collaborative relationships between all parties. ACOG will continue to encourage such relationships.

      • I am grateful to read this but I know that you can make this happen, not “wait and see”. You want safety, make safety humane. Encourage transfers with respect and kindness, please. Expecting the “care” in healthcare is NOT asking too much. Respect must be earned, no time like the present.

  7. I am concerned by these statements. This type of control over women’s birth options is unacceptable to me. Many CMs and CNMs (and many physicians) do not provide home birth, breech, or multiples birth support. Many women would be forced to either enter the Medical Model of Care or have an unassisted birth. What a shame CPMs are being treated this way.

    • Thank you for your comment. ACOG also supports a woman’s right to make to make a medically informed decisions about care. We believe all women should receive information regarding the risks, benefits, limitations, and advantages of their care location, care practices and their maternity care provider.

      • Evidence based, expectant care would result in far happier outcomes. WHEN will those required to “do no harm” actually use health standards set forth by W.H.O., here in the USA?
        Occupying 46th in the world for maternal infant health indicates choosing care not based on evidence and W.H.O. guidelines is a very sad and mean choice for the most vulnerable population on earth. When risk is low, why aren’t Midwives doing ALL births? Why are Doctors in charge of a healthy birthing Mother? She is not ill, she does not need a Doctor. There are plenty of Moms at risk who need a Doctor. The rest are put at risk by Doctors in search of being needed, taught the worst case scenario and seeing it in every instance they can. This needs attention at the educational level. Working with Midwives, NOT MEDWIVES. Qualified Midwives who believe in birth and Women who birth. Doctors MUST become educated and NO longer receive financial compensation for putting Mothers at risk by using non-evidence based practice.

  8. I find it unacceptable that you want to disallow women from making free choices for themselves and their family; you are treating them as incompetent and unable to make decisions about with whom they would like in attendance at their birth. Why are you attempting to eliminate women’s choices? Limiting choices creates a lack of care-providers, and leads many women to birth unassisted; that is, without a health care provider. The kind of action you are taking DECREASES SAFETY for women, not increases it!

    • Thank you for your comment. ACOG is committed to promoting the highest standards for education and national professional certification of all members of the maternity care team. ACOG’s goal is to ensure a culture of patient safety and the best possible care for pregnant women and their families, which is why we support midwives credentialed by the ACNM.

  9. Having more degrees, more book learning, and taking classes that are not directly related to midwifery DO NOT make for better or safer midwives. I personally would much rather have a midwife who was trained via apprenticeship. It is not ACOG’s place to “protect” me from myself. Women have a right to choose the care provider they want regardless of ACOG’s opinion. Pushing for additional education is just one way more that the medical community is forcing their views on women. It is not right, not right at all.

    • ACOG supports setting a minimum standard for education and training that all midwives must meet. While “more” may not always be better, creating a minimum standard for all midwives is important for patient safety and quality of care.

      • Yes! Creating a minimum standard. It would appear to me that the OB’s and the Dr.’s want to keep control over women in their childbearing years. Isn’t a nurse subordinate to a Dr.? Having CNM’s for you to boss around really isn’t giving women choices. Now is it?

  10. Thanks for writing the article. I noticed that you forgot to mention CPM’s As you know a CPM is a Certified Professional Midwife and is licensed or accredited by NARM. The National Association of Registered Midwifes. Comment please.
    Carolyn Gall
    Aspiring Midwife

    • Thanks for your comment. ACOG recognizes and supports the educational and professional standards used by the ACNM and the American Midwifery Certification Board for CNMs and CMs. As I mentioned in the piece, the academic standards for CPMs are not the same. ACOG and ACNM are working to make sure all midwives meet the ICM standards, to ensure a minimum level of qualification in all midwifery providers.

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