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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Episode 54 (Epilogue): How to Become a Midwife

The focus of tonight’s show was how to become a midwife. We focused on the three main categories of midwives: Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM,) Licensed Midwife (LM,) and Certified Professional Midwife (CPM.) We also noted, however, that there are other midwives as well, and that historically speaking people have practiced midwifery long before schooling or licensing.

Our first guest was Suzan Ulrich, who talked to us about Certified Nurse Midwives. CNM’s are midwives who function as primary health care providers for relatively healthy women having low risk births. In most states, CNM’s are required to possess a minimum of a graduate degree, and are also required to have an active Registered Nursing license. Dr. Ulrich, who is currently the Associate Dean of Midwifery and Women’s Health at Frontier Nursing University talked to us about the qualifications of a CNM, as well as the distance education program at Frontier. She noted that it usually takes around 6 years of education to become a CNM, and that CNM’s having training both as nurses and as midwives, stating that this gives them the foundation to provide total care. She noted that because of this, CNM’s often offer services which many may not associate with midwives, such as regular gynecological exams and also menopausal support and care. She also discussed the major role that hospital guidelines have in a CNM’s ability to practice medicine within a hospital setting, and state issues such as Florida’s requirement that CNM’s have 1 million to 3 million dollar malpractice insurance while other birthing care providers, including OB’s, are not required to have this.
Our next guest was Justine Clegg, who talked to u about Licensed Midwifes (LM’s.) A Licensed Midwife is a midwife who is licensed to practice in a particular jurisdiction (usually a state or province.) Justine, who is a LM, as well as a Mental Health Counselor and Certified Lactation Counselor, as well as the founding board member of the Midwifery Education Council, discussed the requirements for entering into an LM program in Florida, namely 3 college level math and English courses, note that the typical length of time it takes for an individual to complete an LM program is about 3 years, and talked to us about licensure and the legality of midwife practices across states. She also left us with this truly insightful quote about becoming a midwife: “It has to be the right time for you, for your family, for your children, for your partner, and for the rest of your life.”

Next we talked to Kristen Schuchmann. Kristen, a Certified Professional Midwife herself, talked to us about CPM certification. A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) 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 Midwives Model of Care. The CPM is the only midwifery credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings. Christen talked mainly about the international school of midwifery that she is a part of, Charis Childbirth, and the important care that they give to women internationally, particularly in third world countries.

Finally, we talked to four student midwives: Haddie Katz, Catherine Bressington, Lizzie Norton, and Katherine Jackson. Haddie attends the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery, and is apprenticing with Sarasota’s own Birthways Family Birth Center, while Catherine, Lizzie, and Katherine joined us in studio, coming all the way from University of the West of England in Bristol. Each of these individual shared their own reasons for becoming a midwife, and Catherine, Lizzie, and Katherine talked to us a little about the differences between UK and US midwife certification. – Contact for Kristen – Contact for Justine

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