Skip to main content

Is Working with a Certified Nurse Midwife Right for Me?

What are the differences between a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) and an obstetrician?

A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is educated in nursing and midwifery. After college, she earns a Masters degree in nursing and midwifery, and passes a national certification exam. An obstetrician attends four years of medical school, has four years of supervised medical practice as a resident physician, and then takes a medical board certification exam. Both obstetricians and CNMs care for women throughout pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care. CNMs typically care for women at low risk of pregnancy complications, while obstetricians care for both low and high-risk women. Another difference is obstetricians perform surgery while CNMs do not.

What services are offered by a Certified Nurse Midwife?

CNMs provide a full range of primary health services for women from teen years through adulthood. These services include primary care, wellness exams, family planning, preconception counseling, pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care. CNMs perform physical exams, prescribe medications, admit, manage, and discharge patients from the hospital, and order and interpret labs and diagnostic tests. CNMs promote healthy living, disease prevention, and wellness education and counseling.

The focus of our midwife team at Oakdale ObGyn is prenatal care, delivery at Maple Grove Hospital, and postpartum care. CNMs take care of healthy, low risk women in pregnancy. CNMs provide labor support and personal care during labor and delivery. Oakdale Obstetricians also care for low-risk women in pregnancy, but in addition are trained to care for women at higher risk of complications in pregnancy and labor. Very high risk women may be referred to the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists, associated with the University of Minnesota. If a CNM patient becomes high risk, the CNM will work with the Obstetrician to manage your care. An Oakdale Obstetrician is always on call at Maple Grove Hospital in case a patient develops a complication in labor or requires a cesarean delivery.

Who should not receive midwifery care?

Women with pregnancy complications:

  • History of eclampsia
  • History of preterm delivery
  • Carrying twins in the current pregnancy
  • Blood type incompatibility in the current pregnancy

Women who have another medical concerns, such as:

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Seizure disorder
  • Lupus
  • Blood clots in legs or lungs
  • Obesity

Obesity increases your risks of pregnancy complications, including: diabetes, hypertension, a large baby, and requiring a C-section for delivery.

If you have not delivered vaginally before and your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 40, you may be referred for care with our Oakdale physicians. If you have had a vaginal delivery in the past, and your BMI is greater than 45, you should also receive care with the physicians in our group. If you are not sure what your BMI is, please ask. It is easy to calculate using the values of your height and weight.

What is our care philosophy?

CNMs believe in an individualized, holistic, non-interventional approach to care. They believe pregnancy is a normal body process, and encourage patients and family members to be active participants in health care decisions.

All of us at Oakdale Obstetrics and Gynecology believe that a caring, human presence and open communication result in a happy and healthy pregnancy and delivery.

The Certified Nurse Midwives and obstetricians of Oakdale Obstetrics and Gynecology are glad you have chosen us as your team of care providers for your pregnancy and delivery. We are excited to share in the joy of childbirth with you.