Midwifery Stats, Facts & Myths

Midwifery Facts

  • Midwifery is one of the oldest professions. The word midwife means “with woman.”
  • Certified Nurse Midwives are licensed independent health care providers with prescriptive authority in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and USVI. They care for women across the lifespan from puberty to menopause.
  • In 2020, there were 12,805 Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) in the United States. The majority of midwives in the US are CNMs.
  • In 2019, CNM/CMs attended 362,362 births and 9.9% of total births in the United States. Of these births, 89% of midwife-attended births were in the hospital setting, with 9% in freestanding birth centers and 8% occurred in the home setting.
  • Midwives are known for attending births, however, 76% of CNMs carry out reproductive care and 49% carry out primary care responsibilities.
  • Since 2010, CNMs are required to hold a graduate degree. Currently, 84% of CNMs have a master’s degree and 20% of CNMs have doctoral degrees.

Midwifery at WMMC

  • Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC) currently has four certified nurse midwives that care for women in both the clinic and hospital setting.
  • 1999 was the first year WMMC implemented midwifery care.
  • Since 1999, WMMC’s midwives have delivered over 5,000 babies.
  • WMMC midwives delivered 344 babies in 2020. This number makes up approximately 53% of the total WMMC hospital births.
  • Our midwives assist with both scheduled and unscheduled C-sections.
  • There are 48 years of OB experience between all of our midwives.

Midwifery Myths Debunked

Midwives only provide care to women during pregnancy and birth.
FALSE: Midwives provide care to women across the lifespan. Some of the care provided by midwives include contraceptive management, family planning, annual exams, postpartum depression, and obstetrical care.

Women who use midwives during labor cannot get an epidural or have pain control options.
FALSE: Women who choose midwifery care are able to have all options for pain control when in the hospital setting. The pain control options available to them include an epidural, IV pain medication, and unmedicated labor support. The majority of women who choose midwifery care are less likely to get an epidural due to personal choice and use of midwifery labor support.

Midwives use only natural induction methods.
FALSE: Midwives are able to use a variety of interventions for induction methods. Some of these methods include the use of Pitocin, artificial rupture of membranes, and prostaglandins.

Midwives are the same thing as Doulas.
FALSE: Midwives and Doulas are both birth workers but play different roles when it comes to birth. Midwives are licensed healthcare providers who provide medical management and interventions during labor and delivery. Doulas do not make medically manage patients but instead act solely as support persons for birthing individuals by providing coping techniques during labor and delivery.

The majority of midwives do not work in the hospital setting.
FALSE: In 2017, 94.1% of midwife-attended births were in the hospital setting, with 3.2% in freestanding birth centers and 2.6% occurred in the home setting.

WMMC Midwifery Accomplishments 2020-2021

  • All of our midwives were Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics certified in 2021
  • Two midwives finished their doctoral degrees
  • One midwife completed her first assist certification
  • One midwife completed her perinatal mood certification
  • One midwife was inducted as an ACNM fellow
  • Our midwifery group precepted five different APRN students and one medical student in the last year
Learn more about our midwifery team here: wmmc.com/womens-health.