What is a Midwife?

Midwives Model of Care™
The Midwives Model of Care™ is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life events. The Midwives Model of Care includes:

  • monitoring the physical, psychological and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
  • providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
  • minimizing technological interventions and;
  • identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention

The application of this model has been proven to reduce to incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.

The Midwives Model of Care definition above is Copyright © 1996-2001, Midwifery Task Force, All Rights Reserved.

Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)
A Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is an individual educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery, who possesses evidence of certification according to the requirements of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM)
The mission of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) is to promote the health and well-being of women and infants within their families and communities through the development and support of the profession of midwifery as practiced by certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives. The philosophy inherent in the profession states that nurse-midwives believe every individual has the right to safe, satisfying health care with respect for human dignity and cultural variations.

Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)
A Certified Professional Midwife is a knowledgeable, skilled and professional independent midwifery practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and is qualified to provide the midwifery model of care. The CPM is the only international credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings.

North American Registry of Midwives (NARM)
The North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) is an international certification agency whose mission is to establish and administer certification for the credential “Certified Professional Midwife” (CPM). CPM certification validates entry-level knowledge, skills, and experience vital to responsible midwifery practice. This international certification process encompasses multiple educational routes of entry including apprenticeship, self-study, private midwifery schools, college- and university-based midwifery programs and nurse-midwifery. Created in 1987 by the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), NARM is committed to identifying standards and practices that reflect the excellence and diversity of the independent midwifery community in order to set the standard for North American midwifery.

Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM)
A direct-entry midwife is an independent practitioner educated in the discipline of midwifery through self-study, apprenticeship, a midwifery school, or a college- or university-based program distinct from the discipline of nursing. A direct-entry midwife is trained to provide the Midwives Model of Care to healthy women and newborns throughout the childbearing cycle primarily in out-of-hospital settings.

International Definition of a Midwife
Adopted by the International Confederation of Midwives 19 July 2005

A midwife is a person who, having been regularly admitted to a midwifery educational programme, duly recognised in the country in which it is located, has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practice midwifery.

The midwife is recognised as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to provide care for the newborn and the infant. This care includes preventive measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in mother and child, the accessing of medical or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures.

The midwife has an important task in health counselling and education, not only for the woman, but also within the family and community. This work should involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood and may extend to women’s health, sexual or reproductive health and childcare.

A midwife may practice in any setting including in the home, the community, hospitals, clinics or health units.

Lay Midwife
The term “Lay Midwife” has been used to designate an uncertified or unlicensed midwife who was educated through informal routes such as self-study or apprenticeship rather than through a formal program. This term does not necessarily mean a low level of education, just that the midwife either chose not to become certified or licensed, or there was no certification available for her type of education (as was the fact before the Certified Professional Midwife credential was available). Other similar terms to describe uncertified or unlicensed midwives are traditional midwife, traditional birth attendant, granny midwife and independent midwife.

Licensed Midwife (LM)
A licensed midwife is a midwife who is licensed to practice in a particular jurisdiction (usually a state or province).

Scope of Patient Care

  • According to Louisiana law, licensed midwives may provide patient care to patients who have been evaluated by a physician and have been determined to be low risk. Patient care includes providing prenatal monitoring, prenatal counseling, childbirth preparation, providing services during labor and delivery, and caring for the baby and the mother immediately after birth. Apprentice midwives must receive a permit to provide care and may only do so under the supervision of a licensed midwife, certified nurse midwife or physician.

Pass A Qualifying Exam

  • To be eligible for licensure, students must pass a qualifying examination which is administered by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME). The examination is offered two or more times per year and consists of two parts. The first part is a written test to verify the applicant’s knowledge regarding pregnancy, childbirth and clinical judgment. The second part is a practical test in which the applicant must show that the necessary skills have been mastered.

Receive a License

  • Applicants for a Louisiana midwife license must be 21 years old or older and a high school graduate. Applicants must submit documentation to the LSBME proving that courses were taken in the theory of pregnancy and childbirth, biology, psychology, human physiology, nutrition and human anatomy. Additional documentation which must be submitted to the LSBME include current CPR certification, passing scores on the National Association of Registered Midwives exam, proof of clinical experience, a recent photograph, materials for a criminal background check and four character recommendations. Character recommendations must be from a licensed midwife, a member of the community, a patient who uses midwife services and a physician or certified nurse midwife.

Read more: Louisiana Midwifery Rules | eHow.com

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