When you think of a midwife, you might imagine a woman who delivers babies in a home or other non-clinical setting. While that scenario does occur, nurse midwives do much more than deliver babies. Nurse midwives offer a broad range of services for women in every stage of life.
“Certified nurse midwives are trained in the full range of primary health services for women,” says Kathleen Augustine, a certified nurse midwife with Tidelands Health Women’s Center, which has offices in Georgetown and Myrtle Beach. “Anything from menarche (the onset of menstruation) to menopause and beyond, we can treat it.”
Nearly 12,000 certified nurse midwives, commonly called CNMs, practice in the U.S., according to 2017 stats from the College of Nurse-Midwives. CNMs spent 86 percent of their time providing primary and reproductive care.
Most CNMs have bachelor’s and graduate degrees, and some have doctoral degrees. They also complete a midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education and pass examinations to earn designation as a certified nurse-midwife.
In South Carolina, CNMs are certified as advanced practice registered nurses, meaning they can write prescriptions and see patients for any number of reasons. From routine primary and gynecologic care, CNMs also offer family planning assistance, preconception guidance and care during all stages of pregnancy and childbirth.