One of these states is not like the others...
I support the availability of licensure for non-nurse midwives and official recognition of CPMs (Certified Professional Midwife) in the state of Nevada. I am the current president of the Nevada Chapter of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives. I am, however, one of the only midwives in our state in support of licensure.
In some states, anyone can call themselves a midwife regardless of education, training, or experience. This is the case in Nevada. If this kind of information is important to you, here are some ways to look into what kind of experience or qualifications your midwife has. You can ask the same about her assistant or student. _______________________________________
1. Ask about her experience attending out of hospital births. Maybe she has mostly attended hospital births. Maybe she is a new graduate. Maybe she has been attending home births for 30 years. It’s good to have an idea. A midwife with 1500 births attended may not be the right midwife for you. You may prefer the care of a midwife with just 20 births as a solo practice midwife. When I picked my 2 home birth midwives, I picked midwives who were CPMs (Certified Professional Midwife), LMs (Licensed Midwife), and they hadn't been in practice for a super long time. You have to pick which midwife you feel most comfortable with. ________________________________________
2. Ask about her education. Sometimes midwives have been educated completely through hands on apprenticeship without attending a formal school. Others have attended schools plus apprenticeship. Some schools are accredited. Some schools are not. Some schools offer Bachelors or Masters degrees. Also look into the school that a midwife has attended. I unfortunately have known of situations where midwives have claimed to have degrees that they don’t hold and that their school didn’t even offer. Additionally, nurse midwives (CNMs) have a different route to licensure in our state. Their education does not focus on out of hospital birth although CNMs can, and a few do, practice outside the hospital. CPMs are specifically trained to practice outside of the hospital environment. They are educated in the skills specific to providing safe and competent care to low risk pregnant people outside of the hospital/obstetric system and to recognize when a transfer to obstetric care is necessary. A full nursing degree is not necessary to provide quality care for low risk families in an out of hospital setting.
If route of education or accreditation is important to you, check out this website for information on educational options in midwifery: https://mana.org/ ________________________________________
3. Ask if she holds any certifications or licensure.
In our area, most out of hospital midwives hold licensure in the state of California (LMs). You can search for a midwife’s CA licensure info on this website to see how long she has been licensed in California. (This may be very different than how long she has been practicing.)
CA Licensure: https://search.dca.ca.gov/?BD=800&TP=8001
Most of us also are Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs). Unfortunately, there is not an online system to verify certification with the overseeing organization (http://narm.org), but you *can* email them to inquire about an individual midwife’s certification status and they will look it up for you. Again, I have unfortunately known of situations where folks have been misrepresented. Email: Info@narm.org __________________________________________
All this being said, a brand new midwife with no formal education and no certification or licensure can be an AMAZING midwife. You deserve to have the information to make just the right choice for you.