I graduated with my CNM from Yale and was not even a nurse before I started the program (BA in History). It is a combined RN certificate and MSN program. Although I did have a lot of other healthcare experience (paramedic, nurses aid, etc..), most of my classmates had zero. They frequently told us we did not need L&D experience and that it may even be a liability (be decreasing your confidence). I think it depends on your learning style and comfort level, however. SOme of my classmates went on to work in L&D for a few years before working as CNMs, but all of my classmates were eventually (and sometime immediately--without L&D) hired. I got multiple job offers. Yes, there were places that would not even consider me without L&D experience, but there were plenty of places that would! I think working as an L&D nurse (which I did for three months) is so far from being a CNM that it is not that helpful in terms of skills--it definately helps in that you get to witness a lot of births and become very familiar with fetal strips and assessments of pregnant and laboring women; however, you also have to do lots of busy work (paperwork/computer charting as well as surgery--ie, c-sections, which you are pretty much not involved in as a CNM unless you do second assist) and be involved in situations that you would rather manage differently (ie watch women go through things that you might deem un-necessary as a CNM--which can be emotionally difficult, depending on your temperment). In short, I would say L&D is not necessary to get a job, but it might make you feel more comfortable going into work as a CNM. All that said, do your research with your CNM program--make sure it is a supportive one and the right "fit" for you. Frontier has a great program!! It is a ton of work, however, and you do have to find your own preceptor which can be challenging depending on where you live. Hope that helps!
hugs and good luck!