There are a lot of different types of healthcare providers in the labor and delivery department. There are OB/GYNs, CNMs, CPMs and CMs. Welcome to the alphabet soup of healthcare. What does this all mean? Here is a brief overview.
OB/GYN: A medical doctor who is trained in the care of women, including prenatal, labor and delivery and postnatal care. They are legal to practice in all 50 states and primarily practice in hospitals.
CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife): These are nurses who are also trained in midwifery. They are trained in the hospital setting and primarily practice in the hospital. They are legal to practice in all 50 states.
CPM (Certified Professional Midwife): These midwives are trained in providing safe, full-scope, out of hospital maternity care, and are certified by NARM. They specialize in home birth and currently on legal to practice in 28 states.
CM (Certified Midwife): These are trained in midwifery and are certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. They practice in the hospital setting and are only legal to practice in 3 states.
There is a lot to consider when choosing a provider, which is one reason we need to have an idea of what our expectations and desires are for labor and delivery. Anyone you think you may want to have taking care of you during your pregnancy, labor and delivery you need to ask good questions of. Check out the Interviewing Potential Providers page for questions to ask someone you may ask to care for you. Throughout the whole process pray for wisdom that you will have the best provider for your baby and you.
Where you desire to have your baby will also play a part in who you use. We will give an overview of places tomorrow.
(For more information on Midwives, their practice and some of the legal issues check out this site.)
(To learn where CPMs are legally able to practice and the current legislation in other states refer to this site.)