Nurse-Midwives, Midwives and Doulas: Difference with Each Other


Certified Nurse-Midwives

Approximately 8% of the childbirths in the United States of America are attended by Certified Nurse-Midwives or (CNMs). These Certified Nurse-Midwives are certified and licensed by the famous American Midwifery Certification Board. Certified Nurse-Midwives are expert in providing the primary health care and can also prescribe certain medicines. They also counsel the expectant mother, her birth partner and other inmates of her house. They talk about the pre natal, labor care and delivery care. The pregnant women are also advised about the dos and don’ts of menopausal problems and management.

Certified Midwife

Someone who is educated in the field of midwifery, and has a certificate approved by the AMCB or the American Midwifery Certification Board, is a certified midwife. Like the certified nurse-midwives, they can also offer the primary health care, and counsel the pregnant women and her relatives.

Other Midwives

The majority of the midwives are either certified nurse-midwives or certified midwives. There are still another group of midwives who are not certified. While most of the midwives hold a masters degree and a few hold at least a graduate degree, the others without a degree still earn their living. ACNM are of the opinion that all the midwives should ideally be licensed in order to practice in the United States. This would ensure that the expectant mothers are under a safe counselor. Patients are advised to choose their midwives very carefully keeping all aspects in mind.


The Doulas are also health care providers to expectant mothers. But their difference with the midwives is that they are there more for the emotional and physical support of the laboring mothers. They ease the worries of the expectant mothers and their birth partners. They offer certain advice on relaxation, breathing, positioning and movement. During the time of delivery the Doulas continuously provide emotional encouragement to the laboring mother. They do not carry out clinical tasks though. They are mostly teamed up with the midwives during a child birth. Their task and philosophies are usually complementary. Sometimes, the Doulas cannot handle the birth of a child and the mother needs to be sent to the hospital. This is because the Doulas are not qualified enough to handle medical complicacies. The Doulas are also being licensed these days. All they need to get a certificate is to attend a weekend workshop and write a small test on it. They provide the emotional care to the laboring mother more than any medical caregiver can do.

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