CPM: How to Choose One that’s Right for You

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When you’ve begun to research possibilities for your birthing process, you’ve likely come across confusing terms like: “CPM”, “CNM,” or “CM”. Understanding the differences between these terms is vital in allowing you to make the best decision for your birth plan. Each of these terms refers to a different type of midwife, which is different primarily due to the required certifications and the route taken to becoming a midwife. Many people assume that midwives don’t hold the same level of training as alternative care providers, which is simply untrue. Many midwives have dual certifications in nursing, as well as additional medical training. When you choose a midwife for your birthing process, you may want to consider asking your potential midwife about her training and experience in order to assuage any concerns you may have.


The Benefits of Midwife Services

There are a multitude of benefits to obtaining the services of a midwife. The biggest difference between midwives and OB-GYNs is that midwives look at birth as a natural process, rather than a medical procedure. Midwives are experts in natural birth. For this reason, many of the births attended by midwives don’t require any medical intervention. There are many additional benefits to having a natural birth.

Midwife services also provide a deeper connection with the healthcare provider. A prenatal visit with an OB-GYN is often scheduled for a 10- or 15-minute increment, while a midwife strives to take enough time to get to know you, as well as provide the best care for you throughout the birthing process. Many women report an easier labor process when working with a midwife, and total labor times tend to be shorter, as well.  

Understanding the Differences: CPMs, CNMs, CMs, and Doulas

There are multiple types of care providers associated with midwife services. Understanding the differences between these types can go a long way toward allowing you to make the best decision for your upcoming birth. It will also help you to make sense of these terms when doing your research regarding midwife services. Most types of midwives have to attend a certain number of births as a midwife assistant before they can become licensed. They also have to regularly renew their licensure to remain that they stay up to date with new practices.


CPM stands for certified professional midwife. CPMs have to attend an accredited college to graduate a midwifery education program. This credential is the only one that requires the midwife to demonstrate knowledge, as well as have experience in, births that take place in out-of-hospital settings. CPMs are often the best choice for giving birth at home or in a birth center, as they have a significant amount of experience in these settings. Ensure that you ask about what to plan on regarding a home birth or giving birth in a birth center.


CNM stands for certified nurse-midwives. Many of these kinds of midwives practice in hospitals. A CNM has dual certifications in both nursing and midwifery. A CNM is an advanced practice registered nurse that has also completed a master’s level or higher nurse-midwifery education program. Many CNMs are allowed to prescribe certain types of medication, due to their nursing experience. This is also the one way to become a midwife that is not “direct-entry.”


CM stands for certified midwife. To obtain a CM certification, an individual must complete a graduate-level midwifery education program. This type of midwife is also generally allowed to prescribe certain medications, due to their level of schooling.


Doulas are not intended to serve as maternity care providers. Their function is primarily to provide support for the mother throughout the labor process. Due to the purpose of a doula, there are fewer requirements for certification. Many doulas, however, choose to obtain certification and training in the field. Obtaining a combined team of both a midwife and a doula has been shown to be an incredibly effective method for simplifying the labor process. Both of these professionals are experienced regarding drug-free pain relief strategies, breathing techniques, and how to ease a mother through the labor process. Doulas can even be obtained for traditional hospital births. It is important to keep in mind that though doulas are a valuable addition to the labor process, they can’t serve the same function as a midwife.

What to Consider when you Choose a CPM

One of the biggest benefits of obtaining the services of a midwife is the sense of empowerment that comes with being in control of your complete birthing process. This is why you need to be diligent when you choose the right CPM for your birth. You want to go with a CPM that takes the time to get to know you. If it seems like she may be too busy to really connect with you, you may want to search elsewhere.

Read reviews prior to deciding on a CPM. This will help you to get a good idea of the services the CPM provides, as well as the experiences others have had with these services. Ask your CPM what their experience is, as well as what methods they use for risk assessment. Though midwives often strive to prevent the necessity of medical intervention, a good midwife knows when these processes become necessary to protect the health of you and your baby. Ultimately, listen to your instincts when you choose a CPM. The midwife process is often focused on an emotional connection between the midwife and the mother. If you feel uncomfortable or don’t feel a connection with the midwife, it is likely that you won’t have as great a birthing experience as possible.

Contact us to Learn More!

Here at My Family Birth Center, we boast a team of highly skilled and experienced professionals that provide pristine midwife services. Our birthing center is designed to provide a peaceful, comfortable birthing experience. We can also provide at-home midwife services, if that is the option you choose. To learn more about hiring a CPM for your birthing process, contact us today!

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