What does a midwife do?

A certified nurse midwife is a board-certified nurse practitioner trained to care for low-risk pregnancies and women at all stages of their lives.

What does a midwife do?

  • Delivers babies
  • Emphasizes natural, unmedicated birth as part of personalized labor support
  • Can order an epidural if the mother chooses one
  • Is different from a doula: A doula offers labor support but does not have the medical training nor the responsibility of delivering the baby.
  • Is a nurse practitioner highly trained in low-risk pregnancies: A certified nurse midwife practices in a medical setting in collaboration with OB/GYN physicians.
  • Cares for women at all stages of life and provides gynecologic care
  • Is typically covered by insurance

Certified Nurse Midwives Deliver Babies in Hospitals

If you choose a certified nurse midwife (CNM) to deliver your baby, you’ll have a board-certified nurse practitioner at your side to advocate for your wishes. At the same time, you’ll have the safety for you and your baby that comes with a hospital setting. CNMs are trained to care for low-risk pregnancies. They work closely with obstetricians to determine the need for surgery or otherwise care for patients who become high risk. At Norton Hospital and Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital, obstetricians are in the hospital around the clock, every day should the need arise.

Natural, Unmedicated Birth

A midwife will work with you to develop an individualized birth plan. Midwives support unmedicated births with limited medical intervention.

Midwives are skilled at helping you manage pain with natural approaches such as adjusting positions and breathing techniques. A midwife is an advocate for your wishes, and if it turns out you need medication, the midwife is just as supportive and can stay by your side.

Doulas Are Different

A doula typically doesn’t have formal medical training, but can provide you guidance and support during labor, much like a coach. This emotional, educational and physical support is helpful to many women.

Certified Nurse Midwives Are Highly Trained

To become certified, a nurse midwife must first be a registered nurse and complete a master’s degree program to become an advanced practice registered nurse.

Pregnant or Planning?

If you are expecting a baby or planning to start a family, Norton Healthcare can help you find the right obstetrics provider and birth plan for you.

Call (502) 629-4GYN (4496) or visit:


A midwife studies to complete a board exam to receive certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board.

More Than Babies

Midwives also provide gynecological care. Choosing a midwife for gynecological care allows you to build a relationship with someone who can provide care throughout your life, including childbirth.

“Certified nurse midwives provide compassionate care to women of all ages and needs, not just those in child bearing years,” said Bianca Weaver, CNM, nurse midwife with Advocates for Women’s Health, a Part of Norton Women’s Care. “A midwife means ‘with women,’ whatever their gynecologic, obstetric or emotional needs may be.”

Insurance Coverage Is Common

In Kentucky, Medicaid covers these services. Check with your insurer for specifics.

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