Midwife Movement

TOPIC: The Certified Midwife movement in the US – inception, progress, and barriers.

Be sure to include and summarize the following in relation to midwifery:

  • Social and political context
  • Scope of practice
  • Education
  • Legal recognition

Briefly describe significant changes, circumstances, or happenings.

Explain why you think these were important for midwifery.


The Certified Midwife (CM) movement in the US has its roots in the midwifery tradition of providing care to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. The movement gained momentum in the 1970s as a response to the medicalization of childbirth and the increasing interventionist approach to birth.

In terms of social and political context, the CM movement was part of a broader movement advocating for women’s health and reproductive rights. The CM movement sought to provide women with alternative options for childbirth, and to promote midwifery as a valid and respected profession.

The scope of practice for CMs includes providing prenatal care, attending births, and providing postpartum care to women and their families. CMs are trained to manage normal pregnancies and births, but are also prepared to refer clients to physicians or other healthcare providers when necessary.

Education for CMs typically involves a Master’s degree in midwifery, as well as clinical training and certification through the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). CMs must also meet ongoing continuing education requirements in order to maintain their certification.

Legal recognition of CMs varies from state to state, with some states granting CMs full practice authority and others requiring collaboration with or supervision by a physician. Despite the lack of uniform recognition, the CM movement has made significant progress in increasing the visibility and credibility of midwifery in the US healthcare system.

Significant changes and circumstances in the CM movement include the passage of the Nurse Midwifery Amendments of 1985, which recognized midwifery as a distinct profession and provided funding for midwifery education and training programs, and the increasing number of women choosing midwifery care for their births. These changes have been important for midwifery in that they have helped to establish the profession as a valid and respected alternative to traditional obstetrical care, and have increased access to midwifery care for women and families.

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