The whole second trimester really is kind of nice, especially if you don’t think too much about the still being nauseated part. I’m not stretched or uncomfortable yet. I can still sleep on my back (though that’s about to end, sigh). Sometimes I see my midwife every four weeks, and sometimes we schedule for every three. Pretty soon we’ll switch to every two weeks.
Which is why her assistant had to ask, after my appointment this week, how soon she wanted me to come back.
“Hmm,” my midwife said. “She can come back when she agrees to name the baby after me.” (She was joking, of course. She and Dane had just been talking names when the question came up.)
When people hear that my births are attended by a midwife, they often assume she’s a nurse-midwife.
Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) are first trained as nurses, then have additional training in midwifery.
My midwife, though, is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), a type of direct-entry midwife. Direct-entry midwives enter the profession without prior training in nursing.
Certified Professional Midwives have training and clinical experience in midwifery, and are the only maternity-care professionals in the U.S. whose credential requires clinical experience with birth outside of a hospital.
Research shows that women giving birth at home with CPMs experience outcomes at least as safe as those that women experience in hospitals, with far fewer interventions. (And hey, one of my births was included in that research study! I got to fill out a form and everything!)
Conflict occasionally flares up over which type of midwife is the best qualified or most professional. I’m of the opinion that—especially given that research thus far shows excellent outcomes for all types of certified midwives—women can make their own decisions about what kind care providers they prefer. (Not that choice is always a realistic possibility; some states prohibit direct-entry midwives, and some states don’t allow any care provider to attend home births. Some areas have no midwives available, and many health care plans won’t cover them even if they are available, despite the low risk and low cost of midwives compared to other providers.)
Personally, I don’t much care which letters follow a midwife’s name. I care about her philosophy of practice, about her experience, and about whether we work well together—whether I trust her judgment, and whether she respects my right to informed consent and decision-making. That’s why I interviewed several different midwives before choosing one to work with.
The midwife I chose happens to be a CPM. She is an expert in physiological birth. She is trained in home birth specifically. She practices under the midwifery model of care. And that is exactly what I want.
For more about birth and midwives, check out the birth resources page.