What is a CPM

CPM 101

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In partnership with their clients CPMs carefully monitor the progress of the pregnancy, labor, birth, newborn, and postpartum period. They recommend appropriate management if complications arise, collaborating with other healthcare providers when necessary. The key elements of this education, monitoring, and decision making process are derived from an evidence-based system which trains thoughtful integration of the best available evidence, clinical expertise, and the client’s values/needs.



The CPM credential was developed in the late 1980’s and was first issued in 1994 by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) to midwives with specialized training and expertise in providing safe, skilled maternity care in community birth settings.

“The main purpose of a certification program is to establish entry-level knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to practice competently. A Certified Professional Midwife’s (CPM) competency is established through training, education and supervised clinical experience, followed by successful completion of a written examination. The goal is to increase public safety by setting standards for midwives who practice “The Midwives Model of Care” predominately in out-of-hospital settings.”

The Midwives Model of Care is based on the amazing fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes.

The Midwives Model of Care includes:

  • monitoring the physical, psychological and social well-being of the mother/birthing parent throughout the childbearing cycle
  • providing the mother/birthing parent with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
  • minimizing technological interventions and
  • identifying and referring women/birthing people who require obstetrical attention.

While 38 states recognize the CPM credential and skill in caring for low-risk pregnant women in pregnancy and birth, many states continue to lag behind. To learn more visit pushformidwives.org.

In states where CPMs are at risk of criminal prosecution for “practicing medicine or nursing without a license,” the practice of midwifery is driven underground and creates barriers to access for women seeking maternity care.

While NARM offers accreditation for Certified Professional Midwifery most states also require a CPM to be licensed within the state’s legal framework in order to practice. In Illinois Midwives are required to be Licensed Certified Professional Midwives (LCPMs).

A CPM is not a nurse and they do not practice nursing or medicine while a CNM is a nurse with an additional midwifery certificate.

Check out this useful Comparison Chart to learn about the differences between CNMs, CMs, and CPMs in America.


Community-Based, Community-Oriented Maternity Care

This article gives an overview of the Traditional Childbearing Group. Co-founded by Shafia Monroe in the 70’s and based in the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood of Massachusetts, the TCBG is a guiding star to Holistic Birth Collective and many contemporary midwifery approaches today.

Examining respect, autonomy, and mistreatment in childbirth in the US: do provider type and place of birth matter?

This article covers a recent research survey of over 1,000 participants. Results found better experiential outcomes for those cared for by midwives than those cared for by physicians. Furthermore, for those receiving midwifery care, the quality of experiential outcomes was significantly higher in community settings than in hospital settings.

The Effects of Home Visiting on Prenatal Health, Birth Outcomes, and Health Care Use in the First Year of Life

This study of 2,900 families involved in home visiting programs reveals the ineffectiveness of HFA and NFP. Among other dissatisfying results the study shows these home visiting programs did not have larger effects on prenatal behaviors, birth outcomes, or health care use after birth.

Midwifery and quality care: findings from a new evidence informed framework for maternal and newborn care

This chapter of the Lancet takes a deep dive into what midwifery is when defined correctly and what are the overwhelming benefits of proper midwifery for the care of childbearing people, newborn infants, and families.

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CPM Awareness

Visit our “About Midwifery” page to learn history of Midwifery and what it looks like today.