What is a Midwife?

Midwife means “with women”.  Midwives are specially trained to assist women and their families in pregnancy, childbirth and the immediate postpartum period.

The midwifery model varies from the traditional medical model of care in that midwives provide:

  1. A focus on health promotion and disease prevention that views pregnancy as a normal life event;
  2. A partnership with women to promote self-care and the health of mothers, infants, and families;
  3. A practice where respect for women as persons with full human rights and self determination is the hallmark of the relationship between client and midwife;
  4. Advocacy for women so that their voices are heard in their own care, and in the community.

In Alaska, there are two kinds of licensed midwives:

Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM)

A nurse-midwife is an advanced practice nurse who has specialized in the practice of obstetrical and gynecological care of relatively healthy women. CNMs are able to practice in hospitals and medical clinics, birthing centers, or within the home.

Certified Direct-Entry Midwives (CDM)

CDMs are sometimes referred to as ‘Licensed Midwives” or “Certified Professional Midwives” in other states. CDMs are qualified to provide all aspects of maternity care to low-risk pregnant women in home settings or in birth centers.



Midwifery and Women’s Health Care believes in a collaborative model of care and provides the services of both types of midwives for our low-risk clients.  If a woman’s risk status increases, our midwives work in close collaboration with physicians to provide the safest care.  Our CNMs also have hospital privileges at Providence Alaska Medical Center, prescriptive authority, and offer well-woman care to women between the ages of 13 and 65.