A CPM is not a "lay" midwife. Technically, the term “lay midwife” went out of date when Alabama began training and permitting midwives in the early 1930’s. However, opponents of midwifery continue to use the term “lay” to imply that modern midwives are ignorant or lack training in a specialized field of knowledge. Since the development of the CPM credential in 1994, a national standard is now available to validate the education and experience of home birth midwives and Alabama law should be updated to recognize this professional advancement.
CNMs seldom practice in homes. The current law which licenses only nurse-midwives does not meet the needs of home birth families in Alabama. Nationally, fewer than one in 1,000 nurse-midwives choose to provide home birth services. While nurse-midwives are well trained in birth services, none of their required training is done in the home setting and working outside of a hospital or birth center appeals to very few members of their profession. Additionally, their current regulations prohibit nurse-midwives from attending home births in Alabama.
CPMs specialize in out of hospital birth. The families who choose home birth are quite clear that they desire midwifery care from midwives who are specifically trained in home birth. The CPM credential is the only nationally accredited credential specific to home birth, and the most reliable assurance to families that the provider they are engaging has experience practicing without the invisible external pressure of physicians, hospitals, and insurance companies who are ultimately influencing nurse-midwifery practice.
Licensing and regulating home birth midwives is beneficial to parents and to the community. Parents are assured that licensed midwives have the training and experience to provide home birth care. Licensed midwives are able to provide continuity-of-care if a consultation and/or referral to a physician or hospital is necessary. Access to home birth midwives expands options for communities without hospital-based maternity services. Additionally, midwives with expertise in home birth are valuable assets for our state during times of natural disasters or pandemics when hospitals may become overwhelmed or dangerous for healthy mothers and infants.