The United States faces a deepening crisis in the quality, cost and availability of health care. Maternity care in particular reflects the basic inefficiencies of the current model – on the one hand too many women receive unnecessarily expensive care due to the overuse of technology, while others cannot access even the most basic services. Midwives are poised to address this problematic distribution of care by providing essential health services that result in excellent outcomes at lower cost than typical care. Any plan for health reform should include support for and expansion of midwifery services.
Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) are a fast-growing segment of the midwifery profession in the United States today. Certified Professional Midwives are trained and credentialed to offer expert care, education, counseling and support to women for pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. They have particular expertise in out-of- hospital settings. CPMs practice as autonomous health professionals working within a network of relationships with other maternity care professionals who can provide consultation and collaboration when needed.
The purpose of the CPM Issue Brief is to provide information about Certified Professional Midwives: their qualifications, philosophy and scope of practice; the best available evidence regarding the safety and quality of their care; and a brief exploration of how increased utilization of their services will address America’s health care needs.