Birthing Center Staff

birth center
Birthing centers may employ a variety of health care professionals. Depending on the center, you may find ob/gyn doctors, nurses, family practice physicians, certified nurse-midwives, certified midwifes, birthing assistants, doulas, lactation specialists, pediatric consultants, etc.

Haven’t heard of some of the above professions? Below describes some of the staff you'll find:

1. Certified nurse-midwives (aka CNMs): CNMs are licensed professionals who provide emotional and physical support to women before birth, during birth, and after birth. CNMs are registered nurses who have specialized in the care of pregnant women and their newborn babies. To be a CMN, the individual must be certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

2. Certified midwives (aka CMs): CMs are licensed professionals who provide emotional and physical support to women before birth, during birth, and after birth. To be a CM, the individual must be certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board. The main difference between CNMs and CMs are that CNMs are registered nurses, whereas CMs are not.

3. Birthing assistants: Birthing assistants can go by many names—traditional midwife, uncertified midwives, lay midwives, etc. Birthing assistants are not licensed. They provide assistance to women in a birthing environment. Their study of the practice is done by informal training, like self study or an apprenticeship.

4. Doulas: A doula is an assistant who provides various forms of non-medical and non-midwifery support (physical and emotional) in the childbirth process. A labor/birth doula can provide information and assistance with relaxation, breathing, and positions. A doula will also provide continuous emotional comfort. A doula can also help you voice your concerns and wishes to the medical staff. They do not diagnose medical conditions or dispose medical advice. They are usually by your side through labor and delivery. Most stay with you after that the baby is born to help with breast-feeding and provide assistance.

5. Lactation specialist: A lactation specialist is a person who assists mothers in learning how to breast feed.


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Learn more about birthing centers:

Home-like amenities provided by birthing centers
How to create a birth plan
How to select the best birthing center
Tips for touring a hospital birthing center
Tips for touring a stand alone birthing center
What is a birthing center?