Our certified nurse-midwives provide prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care for patients who are not considered to have a "high-risk" pregnancy.

Q: What is a certified nurse-midwife?

A: A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is an individual educated in the two disciplines:

  • Nursing

  • Midwifery

The CNM designation is given after completing an accredited graduate-level program of midwifery at either a school of medicine, a school of nursing or a school of public health. Additional exam certification is granted by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

All of the nurse-midwives at Mass General are CNMs.

Q: What is the philosophy of midwifery care?

A: In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, CNMs are licensed independent practitioners with full practice authority defined by state regulations.

Within the Midwifery Service at Mass General, the nurse-midwives are committed to the care and support of patients and their families as a part of our Obstetrics Program. Our nurse-midwives recognize pregnancy and labor as a normal part of the body’s biological process and are considered highly skilled and knowledgeable in this field. They support all people around the birth process and encourage the active involvement of family members. Our CNMs acknowledge the diverse community that they serve and attempt to honor the cultural aspects of pregnancy and child birth.

At Mass General, our CNMs incorporate evidence-based medical research into their practice. They also recognize the need for close communication with the OB/GYN specialist physicians, maternal fetal medicine (MFM) physicians, genetic counselors, nutritionists, social workers, nurses, pediatricians, anesthesiologists and other members of your care team.

Q: How do CNMs and doctors work together?

A: One of the strengths of the Mass General Obstetrics Program is the strong and healthy collaborative relationship between the midwifery and OB physician teams. This team-based approach is vital to the care of pregnant patients at Mass General. Midwifery care fits well with the services provided by obstetrician/gynecologists, who are experts in high-risk pregnancies, medical complications and surgery.

If complications or concerns for the health and safety of you or your baby emerge during labor and delivery, our nurse-midwives work closely with the physician team to ensure a seamless transfer from midwifery care to MD care.

Q: Can CNMs prescribe medication and tests?

A: CNMs are licensed to independently prescribe a full range of medications, medical tests and treatments, including pain control medication during labor and birth control.

Q: Will a CNM offer pain relief during labor?

A: We partner with you to create a birth plan that best fits your personal needs and desires. Your CNM will explain pain relief options, whether you prefer IV, epidural or nitrous oxide options, or alternatives such as relaxation techniques or movement during labor. Your nurse-midwife will work with you to help meet your desired approach to birth.

At the same time, your midwife will help guide you if changes to your birth plan become necessary or you change your mind by providing information and resources about the different options available.