Happy March to each of you! I am really ready for winter to be over, especially since this one seems to be stretching on and on. This past month has been busy, and I even enjoyed a 6 day reprieve from cold when I took my 15 mo. old to Costa Rica in order to attend a dear friend’s wedding. It was a great trip, though not without excitement (like when I realized I left my wallet behind when I arrived at the airport and was ready to depart…or when flights were cancelled due to weather…and other such things….so grateful for how the Lord took care of every detail!). The chance to reconnect with old friends was very special, and it was fun to introduce them to my little fellow, though it would have been even better if my husband and 2 yr. old could have joined us. They seemed to manage quite well on their own, but we were all ready to be back as a little family once again!
I was trying to come up with a good idea to write about this month, and then I thought that perhaps I could blog about one of the items on my list of things that I want to add to my prospective client handout folder. One question, or series of questions, that comes up frequently during the initial interview has to do with my certification, and what exactly it means. There are so many different names and titles out there that it can be confusing at times! When you go to figure out what care provider is right for you, it is helpful to have an idea of what his/her qualifications are, and what all is entailed with those. So, here’s a brief look at what the Certified Professional Midwife title means…
The North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) was founded in 1987 by the Midwives Alliance of North America, and they oversee the certification standards of the CPM credential. In order to become certified, one must first show that she can provide competent, safe, and qualified care to mothers and babies throughout the birth and postpartum process, both by completing academic studies and by demonstrating care in a clinical setting. This requires that a prospective midwife both study through a NARM-approved academic institution, as well as complete an internship under the supervision of other certified midwives. Proving that one has the mastered the skills necessary to provide knowledgeable care takes time, and there is an extensive set of qualifications that must be met before one can sit for the final exams that cover questions relating to each phase of maternal and infant periods. Once the exams are passed, re-certification must take place every 3 years, which requires ongoing continuing education and re-certification of CPR and NRP.
When I first looked into obtaining midwifery education, I decided to pursue getting certification, even though the state I was working in did not recognize the credential. It was important to me that I do my best to provide the best care possible, and submitting to the qualifications necessary to become a CPM helped prospective clients to know that I took my job seriously and that I had demonstrated the ability to pass the national standard for midwifery care. In areas where licensure is not offered for homebirth midwives, this certification also gives clients the assurance that a certain level of training has been taken, instead of not having any idea of what a midwife’s qualifications may or may not include. Interestingly, many of the states that offer licenses to midwives are using the CPM as the basis for their training requirements. While many midwives who do not have the CPM title are competent and experienced, I feel like having a standard of competency for certification helps to ensure safety and high standards of care for each mother who desires to birth out of the hospital.
Finally, I like the way this quote sums it up, taken from http://www.nacpm.org/what-is-cpm.html
“A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is a knowledgeable, skilled and independent midwifery practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). CPM is the only international credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital birth.”
If you’re interested in looking into this topic further, I’d suggest you check out these links:
http://narm.org/advocacy/narm-brochure-text/ gives a good overview of the Midwifery Model of Care and how CPM’s help to promote this, and http://midwifeinternational.org/how-to-become-midwife/certified-professional-midwife-vs-certified-nurse-midwife-whats-difference/ details the differences between the CPM and CNM titles.
Feel free to let me know if you have questions, or if you’d like to add a comment regarding this…thanks!