MidwivesGroupMidwifery as practiced by certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs) encompasses a full range of primary health care services for women from adolescence beyond menopause. These services include the independent provision of primary care, gynecologic and family planning services, preconception care, care during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, care of the normal newborn during the first 28 days of life, and treatment of male partners for sexually transmitted infections. Midwives provide initial and ongoing comprehensive assessment, diagnosis and treatment. They conduct physical examinations; prescribe medications including controlled substances and contraceptive methods; admit, manage and discharge patients; order and interpret laboratory and diagnostic tests and order the use of medical devices. Midwifery care also includes health promotion, disease prevention, and individualized wellness education and counseling

Our Philosophy of Care

We, the midwives of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, affirm the power and strength of women and the importance of their health in the well-being of families, communities and nations. We believe in the basic human rights of all persons, recognizing that women often incur an undue burden of risk when these rights are violated. 

We believe every person has a right to:

  • Equitable, ethical, accessible quality health care that promotes healing and health
  • Health care that respects human dignity, individuality and diversity among groups
  • Complete and accurate information to make informed health care decisions
  • Self-determination and active participation in health care decisions
  • Involvement of a woman's designated family members, to the extent desired, in all health care experiences 

We believe the best model of health care for a woman and her family:

  • Promotes a continuous and compassionate partnership
  • Acknowledges a person's life experiences and knowledge
  • Includes individualized methods of care and healing guided by the best evidence available
  • Involves therapeutic use of human presence and skillful communication 

We honor the normalcy of women's lifecycle events. We believe in:

  • Watchful waiting and non-intervention in normal processes
  • Appropriate use of interventions and technology for current or potential health problems
  • Consultation, collaboration and referral with other members of the health care team as needed to provide optimal health care 

We affirm that midwifery care incorporates these qualities and that women's health care needs are well-served through midwifery care. 

Finally, we value formal education, lifelong individual learning, and the development and application of research to guide ethical and competent midwifery practice. These beliefs and values provide the foundation for commitment to individual and collective leadership at the community, state, national and international level to improve the health of women and their families worldwide.

Hallmarks of Midwifery

The art and science of midwifery are characterized by the following hallmarks:

  1. Recognition, promotion, and advocacy of menarche, pregnancy, birth, and menopause as normal physiologic and developmental processes
  2. Advocacy of non-intervention in physiologic processes in the absence of complications
  3. Incorporation of evidence-based care into clinical practice
  4. Promotion of person-centered care for all, which respects and is inclusive of diverse histories, backgrounds, and identities
  5. Empowerment of women and persons seeking midwifery care as partners in health care
  6. Facilitation of healthy family and interpersonal relationships
  7. Promotion of continuity of care
  8. Utilization of health promotion, disease prevention, and health education
  9. Application of a public health perspective
  10. Utilizing an understanding of social determinants of health to provide high-quality care to all persons including those from underserved communities
  11. Advocating for informed choice, shared decision making, and the right to self-determination
  12. Integration of cultural safety into all care encounters
  13. Incorporation of evidence-based integrative therapies
  14. Skillful communication, guidance, and counseling
  15. Acknowledgment of the therapeutic value of human presence
  16. Ability to collaborate with and refer to other members of the interprofessional health care team
  17. Ability to provide safe and effective care across settings including home, birth center, hospital, or any other maternity care service

Retrieved from Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice (2020)