Updated August 2013

A midwife is someone who is trained to care for women with low-risk pregnancies and those who are expecting normal deliveries. Midwives help more than 300,000 women give birth each year in the US; most births take place in hospitals, but some occur in birthing centers or at home. A midwife’s education stresses that pregnancy and birth are normal, healthy events, not potential medical emergencies.

A Midwife May:

  • help facilitate a natural childbirth
  • spend more time with you than a medical doctor during prenatal visits
  • work in collaboration with a physician
  • be part of a labor and delivery team associated with a local hospital
  • provide vaginal exams or fetal heart-rate monitoring
  • help minimize medical interventions, such as induced labor, C-sections, and episiotomies
  • stay with you during your entire labor and delivery
  • handle an emergency transfer to a hospital if there are problems during a home birth
  • provide postpartum care, including breastfeeding support
  • provide well-woman care outside the realm of pregnancy and childbirth, including family planning and annual gynecological exams
  • set up payment plans or sliding fees, or accept insurance plans, including Medicaid
Midwives help more than 300,000 women give birth in the US each year.

A Midwife Will Not:

  • care for you if you have a preexisting medical condition, such as diabetes or epilepsy
  • perform a C-section birth
  • deliver a child with forceps or vacuum
  • use medical interventions such as electronic fetal monitoring or epidurals without a doctor’s supervision

Midwives & Home Births

If you are planning to deliver your baby at home, here are some questions to ask your potential midwife…

  • How do you handle problems during labor?
  • When would we go to the hospital?
  • What drugs and equipment do you use in the home?
  • Do you have a formal agreement with an obstetrician/gynecologist to provide care if problems occur?
  • Which hospital will I be transported to if a problem occurs during labor?
  • Would you stay with me if we transfer?
  • Are you trained in newborn resuscitation?


Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are licensed healthcare providers educated in nursing and midwifery. Certified midwives (CMs) are licensed healthcare providers educated in midwifery. Both have graduated from college, have passed a national exam, and have completed an accredited program of the American College of Nurse Midwives.

To find a midwife in New Jersey, visit midwife.org.