Midwives have been helping women through pregnancy and childbirth for centuries. Traditionally, midwives were experienced women in the community who provided support and care for expectant mothers. However, with the advent of modern medicine, the role of midwives has evolved, and there are now two distinct types of midwives - certified professional midwives and certified nurse-midwives.
On the other hand, a "birthkeeper" is a relatively new term that has emerged in recent years to describe individuals who provide support and care for expectant mothers during pregnancy and childbirth. While some birthkeepers may have received some form of training, there is no formal certification or accreditation process for birthkeepers.
The main difference between a certified professional midwife (CPM) and a birthkeeper is the level of training and education they receive. CPMs undergo a rigorous certification process that includes extensive academic study, clinical experience, and passing a national certification exam. CPMs specialize in out-of-hospital birth, such as home births, and have the skills and knowledge to manage a wide range of complications that may arise during labor and delivery.
Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are licensed healthcare professionals who have completed both nursing and midwifery education. CNMs are trained to provide a wide range of reproductive health services, including prenatal care, labor and delivery support, postpartum care, and gynecological care. They can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, birth centers, and homes.
In contrast, birthkeepers are not required to have any formal training or certification. Some may have completed a short course or workshop, while others may have learned through personal experience. Birthkeepers typically offer emotional support and guidance to women during pregnancy and childbirth. They may provide advice on nutrition and exercise, offer relaxation techniques during labor, and assist with breastfeeding and postpartum care.
Another key difference between CPMs and birthkeepers is the level of medical care they can provide. CPMs and CNMs have the training and experience to manage many medical complications that may arise during labor and delivery. They are trained to recognize the signs of potential complications and can administer medications, perform emergency procedures, and make referrals to other medical professionals if needed.
In contrast, birthkeepers are not qualified to provide medical care. They may provide emotional support and guidance, but they do not have the training or authority to administer medication, perform medical procedures, or make clinical decisions.
In conclusion, while both certified professional midwives and birthkeepers provide support and care for expectant mothers, there are significant differences in their training and scope of practice. CPMs and CNMs are licensed healthcare professionals who undergo rigorous training and certification to provide comprehensive care to women during pregnancy and childbirth. In contrast, birthkeepers may have varying levels of training and experience and are not qualified to provide medical care. It is important for expectant mothers to carefully consider their options when choosing a care provider and to seek out professionals who have the necessary qualifications and experience to provide safe and effective care.
Wisdom & Wellness for Birth & Beyond
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Sarah Eiley Cowherd
Sarah is a mama to 4 wild things and a doula in Charlotte, NC with over 10 years of experience in supporting families of all kinds. With gentle hands and a humble heart, she guides women to experience birth without fear and move forward into motherhood in confidence.