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Field description

Nurse-midwives provide care to women from adolescence through the menopausal years. They work with healthy women to provide gynecologic care, including Pap tests, preconception counseling, family planning and sexual health services.

Nurse-midwives also care for low-risk women during pregnancy. They provide the woman's health care during prenatal visits, attend the birth and provide care in the postpartum period. Nurse-midwives focus on helping women prepare for birth, and they spend one-on-one time with women during labor and delivery and low-risk vaginal deliveries.

Nurse-midwives work collaboratively with other health care professionals, which may include physicians, social workers, dietitians, physical therapists, educators and other nurses.

To become a certified nurse-midwife, a registered nurse must graduate from a nurse-midwifery program accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives and pass a national certification exam. Certified nurse-midwives are educated in both nursing and midwifery and can practice anywhere in the U.S.

Career opportunities

Nursing is the largest health care occupation, with nearly 3 million jobs, and is one of the top occupations projected to have the largest numbers of new jobs through 2022, according to the Department of Labor.

Nurse-midwives are in high demand to provide obstetrics and gynecology services in low-risk patient populations. Nurse-midwife positions have seen exponential growth in the last two decades.

Certified nurse-midwives work in hospitals, clinics, birthing centers, health departments, private practices, institutions and with physicians. Some nurse-midwives may even own their own practices.

Earnings potential

Nurse-midwife starting salaries are approximately $75,000 a year.

Incomes vary greatly depending on years and type of experience, the area of the country, benefit packages, and individual employment, such as whether a nurse-midwife works within an institution or is in private practice.

Professional organizations

March 08, 2017