Frequently Asked Questions About the Certified Nurse Midwife Service

What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?

A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is a Registered Nurse (RN) who has advanced education in both midwifery and nursing. CNMs are certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives and are licensed by the State of Michigan as both nurses and nurse midwives.

What services do CNMs provide at Michigan Medicine?

CNMs provide prenatal, birth, postpartum and normal newborn care. They also provide routine gynecological care, which includes family planning services, health maintenance examinations and treatment of minor gynecologic conditions. They are probably best known for how they help women during labor and birth, but they apply their philosophy of care in all settings and with women across their lifespan.

If I see a CNM at Michigan Medicine, where will I have my baby?

Our CNMs work exclusively out of the Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital Birth Center.

Will the CNM I see in clinic attend my birth?

We are a group practice, therefore, any member of the service might be with you for your birth. As a group, we meet monthly to discuss our patients’ needs and desires for their births. Our goal is to be consistent both in philosophy and specific guidelines so that you can have confidence in the predictability of our care.

Will my insurance pay for nurse midwifery care?

The major insurers in the southeast Michigan area, including Medicaid and most BCBS plans, pay for midwifery care, and most others will as well. We encourage you to call and verify coverage, being sure to specify you will be birthing in the hospital.

I want an unmedicated vaginal birth. I am concerned that if I deliver in the hospital, this is not possible.

As partners in your care, and practitioners who believe in the normalcy of pregnancy and birth, our CNMs are very supportive of your desire for physiologic, low intervention birth. We will work closely with you to accomplish this and believe interventions should only be used as needed. We have worked to provide many non-pharmacologic coping aids available to you, such as tubs, showers, mobility, intermittent monitoring, and doula support, among others. We also work hard, through our guidelines and advocacy, to protect space for physiologic birth to unfold.At times, however, the birth process does not proceed as expected or desired. It is our job to guide you through this alternative path, making recommendations as needed, and creating opportunities for dialogue and shared decision making. Our obstetrician colleagues are very respectful of our practice, and help us manage unexpected events together with you. While our basic goal is the health and safety of you and your baby, our parallel goal is to accompany you through the process feeling supported, informed and directly involved in your care.      

I would like nurse midwifery care, but would also like an epidural. Can I still see a CNM?

All patients birthing at Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital have access to epidurals and other pharmaceutical approaches to comfort in labor.

Do I have to have an IV? What about continuous fetal monitoring?

Interventions are only recommended if there is a reason. Your CNM will discuss this with you during prenatal care and also during labor/birth.

I know Michigan Medicine is a teaching hospital. Will I have a lot of students at my birth?

We believe strongly in teaching midwifery skills to the next generation of midwives and physicians. However, at most one nurse midwife student at a time would be present.

Can I labor in the tub? Birth in the tub?

We have eight rooms with large tubs for labor and birth. Though we cannot guarantee that a room with a tub will be available, we will do our best to provide one. Water births are safe for many women and babies. Your CNM will discuss your appropriateness for water birth during your prenatal visits.