Jump to content

CNM or L&D?


Hi. So, i'm currently getting my bachelors in a different medical field but after i graduate i plan to go back and get my bachelors in nursing. I'm extremely interested in pregnancy, birth, motherhood, and my goal is to be able to care for women pre, during, and postpartum. I also want to be able to deliver babies.

My dilemma comes in because, that's really the only thing i'm interested in. So i don't know if i would be better suited in becoming a Labor & Delivery Nurse, a Certified Nurse Midwife, or something else (if there's a profession that specifically does this). I was hoping anyone who could answer could help me please??

It sounds to me like your passion and goal is to become a midwife! There are different types of midwives in the US. I would look at this chart on the American College of Nurse Midwives website (midwife.org) which describes different types of midwives. There's also a lot of useful info on that website which should help you. http://midwife.org/acnm/files/ccLibraryFiles/FILENAME/000000006807/FINAL-ComparisonChart-Oct2017.pdf

You could become a home birth midwife, which is a CPM. They are only licensed in certain states and have a smaller scope of practice compared to CNMs. In order to become a CNM, you will need to obtain a nursing degree first. There are lots of different ways to go about this. You could do an accelerated BSN/ RN program. You could work as an RN after nursing school in any specialty (like Labor and Delivery) and apply to CNM school after. You could apply into a graduate entry nursing program as well. Also, there are a few direct entry CNM programs for people w/out a nursing degree in the US you can apply to. Additionally, you can apply to a Certified Midwife program which will give you the same credentials as a nurse midwife but you don't need a nursing degree. CMS are only licensed in certain states though. You need to do a lot of research in order to figure out which path is right for you! Keep an open mind and good luck!

Midwives provide care across settings to well women including gynecological and primary health care, pre-conception, prenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum care as well as care for normal newborns up to 21 days of life. This is the full scope that you will be trained to provide but depending on where you work you may only provider some aspects of this care. Unless you plan on making a career in one of the five states (Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island) that allow CMs to practice without becoming a midwife you will need to become a nurse first. You can do this by either attending a ADN or BSN program or by going through a direct entry MSN program that will include accelerated basic nursing in the graduate program. The latter type of program can be quite competitive and expensive and often preclude working at least during the RN portion.

If you're unsure about what level of nursing you want to practice, a basic RN program might be your best bet. You will get some exposure to OB during nursing school and would be able to look for and L&D job afterwards (although these can sometimes be difficult to land). Other careers you might be interested that involve maternal-child health are a lactation consultant, childbirth educator, and/or doula. Although not mandatory, the first two are often former L&D nurses. If you want to catch babies (women deliver babies, not the provider) you will need to be a midwife. Another advantage of midwifery is the ability to form long-term relationships with women you care for. L&D nurses, however, often do most of the laboring with women so if you don't mind someone else swooping in at the big moment, you may find this gives you more time to spend one-on-one with families.