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What's the difference between certified and uncertified midwives?

Posted at 6:20 PM, Jul 08, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. — Midwives help women throughout their pregnancies, but there are a couple different types of midwives that you should be aware of.

A certified nurse midwife goes through schooling to become a nurse, has to get certified and then has to get her Master's Degree for most hospital work.

"A traditional midwife doesn't have a formal education that has been certified by a credentialing board," certified midwife Lydia Rhodes said.

Uncertified midwives, also called lay midwives, have no credentialing, training or proper education.

"A lay midwife is a controversial thing," Rhodes said.

Rhodes refers to lay midwives as "uneducated birth assistants." In the state of Nebraska a certified nurse midwife is not allowed to assist in a home birth, uncertified midwives can.

"I think it comes down to the fact that people desire a home birth. And since a certified nurse midwife is not able to be there, they will compromise and use someone who is not certified," Rhodes said.

It seems a bit backwards, the less trained midwives being the only ones able to assist in home deliveries.

Angela Hock is an uncertified midwife who tried to deliver a woman's breached baby at home last month. That baby died two days later due to complications during the birth. Hock now faces up to twenty years in prison for child abuse resulting in death.

"In the state of Nebraska a certified nurse midwife is not allowed to attend a home birth. If there is not a certification to that midwife then for whatever use of that term, it's used loosely, then they can be at home," Rhodes said.

In Iowa however, it is legal for a certified nurse midwife to assist in home births.

A limbo of rules and certifications that vary by state can have deadly consequences. However midwives, no matter the certification, remain increasingly popular during a woman's pregnancy.

"We are there waiting with them in the halls, doing position changes, helping them through it. We don't just come in right at the end to deliver the baby. There's more of kind of personal relationship there and I think women want that," Rhodes said.