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Any North Carolina Midwives?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hello birth professionals. I am not sure if I should post here or in "Finding Your Tribe". I am thinking of going to school to become a midwife. I have no education past high school (except some doula training).I would be starting from ground zero (or less). I am moving to the Asheville area this summer, and thought about starting school right away. I would most like to be a home birth midwife. I know the laws about midwifery are different in NC than here. Can anyone who knows about midwifery in NC help me get started? How long do you think it would take from start to finish? Will I need to take nursing? I just have no idea where to begin.

post #2 of 22
Direct-Entry midwifery is currently illegal in NC. However, we have quite a wonderful network of CPM's that operate underground very successfully We are also working overtime to get legislation passed to get CPM's licensed in NC.

If you want to be legal and licensed in the current state of laws, you have to become a CNM. This includes a Bachelor's degree in nursing, 2 years work experience in L&D, then a 2 year midwifery program at an approved Nurse-Midwifery college. Then you just take your state licensing exam, convince a doctor to back you up, and put out your shingle

Just post if you are interested in the direct-entry route, and I can tell you about the options for becoming a CPM. Just as a rough estimate (depending on if you can find a senior midwife to apprentice with, how many births your senior midwife attends/year, whether you take time off for childbirth/nursing, which program you pick, etc.) it should take about 3 years if you're doing a full time apprenticeship and simultaneously doing a midwifery distance-program. However, there are more than a dozen routes into CPM certification, so just ask if you're interested in hearing the options.
post #3 of 22
I'm here! Feel free to PM or email me if you want to chat.

post #4 of 22
I'm a long way from actually being a midwife, but I'm on the CNM path and ultimately desire to serve homebirthing families. You can start with an associate's degree in nursing, and there are several midwifery schools where you can then "bridge" after working for a year as an RN without having a bachelor's in nursing. Be forewarned that if you choose this route, there are enough pre-requisite courses that you will need 1-2 years just to complete them, depending on whether you can go to school full time. PM me for more details if you'd like.
post #5 of 22
Originally Posted by Bella Luna View Post
I'm a long way from actually being a midwife, but I'm on the CNM path and ultimately desire to serve homebirthing families. You can start with an associate's degree in nursing, and there are several midwifery schools where you can then "bridge" after working for a year as an RN without having a bachelor's in nursing. Be forewarned that if you choose this route, there are enough pre-requisite courses that you will need 1-2 years just to complete them, depending on whether you can go to school full time. PM me for more details if you'd like.
Thank you for correcting me, Bella Luna!
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.
A couple questions.
In NC can a CNM attend homebirths?
I am not sure which route would be best for me yet. Can you give me some pros and cons of both CNM and CPM? besides the legalities? It sounds like the time frame of going the CNM route is longer.

And then do you know of the better schooling for either route in the Asheville area?

Thanks again.
post #7 of 22
yes, a CNM can attend homebirths in NC, completely legally and licensed. You would have to have a backup doctor though, which are hard to come by.

I can tell you more about the CPM route, because that is the route I'm taking. You could take distance courses with a MEAC accredited school, combined with either a clinical internship (where you travel and work in a birthing center or something of that sort during your clinicals) or an apprenticeship in your area (or somewhere else). Then, you just take your NARM exam and you're a CPM. In NC you would then be practicing illegally.

If you decide to either go exclusively with an apprenticeship or take a midwifery course that is not MEAC accredited, you have to go through the PEP process which basically means you have a book with something like 600 skills in it (and your senior midwife signs them off when she thinks you have mastered them) as well as room to record your births, prenatals, newborn exams, and postpartums. When it is finished you just send it into NARM and they assess it, approve it, and then you take the regular NARM exam plus a skills assessment.

You can also do an immersion program (intensive one-year apprenticeship/internship in high-volume birth center, like Maternidad la Luz), but that is not recommended because of the short time period that you obtain your experience and the high-stress environment (less normal birth, more people walking in pushing that you have never seen before)...in other words, the education is not as complete as if you were apprenticing with a homebirth midwife for 3 years or so and did a midwifery course. It IS however an excellent supplement toward the end of your schooling, to get your numbers/experience higher.
post #8 of 22
Yes, I agree that the CNM route is longer overall, unless you already have some college credits in prerequisite courses or a prior degree. For information on an associates degree in nursing, try Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. You can bridge to a master's degree at East Carolina University or Frontier. Be sure to check the individual midwifery schools' requirements, because some require prerequisites that your college may not have included in their program.

Some advantages to being a CNM include: legality in all 50 states (though more states are making CPMs legal each year and hopefully NC will too by 2011); you may have a better transfer experience for clients that need the hospital (but not necessarily); ability to have a practice that includes operating a birth center and hospital privileges if desired; international recognition of the degree if living abroad is in your future.

CPM training will definitely focus more on physiological birth and attending homebirths. That doesn't mean you can't make the CNM program work for you, but you'll probably feel philosophical friction in nursing school (IME) and maybe even in the midwifery training, depending on your preceptor and clinical site(s).
post #9 of 22
If you are going to be in Asheville I would check out http://newdawnmidwifery.com/

They are CNM's doing homebirth and hospital birth. They may have some support and guidance for you. I did the CNM route (I have since left NC). The laws are somewhat restrictive for the practice of midwifery in NC, but it seems there is a lot of movement being made. I know there are a lot who will disagree on this, but I do feel for the long-run the CNM path will give you more options. CNM's are licensed in all 50 states, so if you ever move you will always have a job and not be "underground".
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your replies so far as I try to figure this out.

Looking online it appears that there are more physical schools out there that you actually GO TO to become a CNM. It appears that many of the CPM schools are online. If I were to take online training, would that do me as well as an actual school? I assume most of my hands on training would come from my apprenticeship? Also, my own homebirth midwives were very knowledgable in herbs and tinctures. Is this something that comes with CNM and CPM training, or do I do this kind of training seperatly?

Thank you all so much for reading and answering all of my questions. I am wanting as much info right now as possible, as I am unsure which direction I want to take (between CNM or CPM). I really have no idea. I am the kind of person who wants to know everthing about every option I have before I make a choice. My DH makes fun of me every time we go out to dinner or try on clothes!!
post #11 of 22
yes, the majority of CPM schools are online, and they are great, you just have to make sure you have a great apprenticeship so that you can get all your hands-on experience and birth numbers. If you apprentice with a midwife who is an expert in herbs, most likely she will teach you that alongside midwifery (my senior midwife does). If not, sometimes there is a short class on herbs/homeopathy in the midwifery school courses, but they are really not comprehensive. I would recommend taking Shonda Parker's class on herbs (it's an online course) as a supplement if you're interested in herbal therapy and your senior midwife can't/won't teach you.
post #12 of 22

Narm 2010

anybody out there taking the NARM in August 2010 in Austin Tx?? Does anyone live within that area that is taking/took this already that would be kind enough to share preparation technique?? and maybe even meet up?? Thanks
post #13 of 22

To the original poster,

  CNMs are legal in NC, and  there are 9 of us (and one OB) through out the state, and hopefully me (as soon as licensed in this state) with homebirth practices, We are scattered from the far eastern parts to the western parts. The newehomebirth CNM practice is mine and I'm near Hickory. I will cover about a 2 hour radius & that includes Charlotte, Winston salem, Asheville, Boone and more.

I have 2 backups (working on another one in Asheville) and one was my informal backup for my daughter, and for many years for my Homebirth Childbirth ed. folks. Acquring backups is getting easier. I had been on the  CNM path for a total of 30 years, so do not give up. I am thankful for all my years working as an assistant to a homebirthing CNM in IL, as direct entry, in legal/alegal states, e.g, MA, RI, and TN, and I remain very hands off, and still wildcraft about half of the herbs that I use. I will also looking for an assistant/apprentice/midwifery student. The nursing board is realizing that the state could be friendly to homebirth CNMs and there potential backups, and the CNMs and ACNM are all working to change wording in legislation to "collaborative care", instead of signature of formal backup.   In some states it seeems that there CPM licensure/status is always being threatened. CNMs do not have that concern. Also, a benefit is I could move anywhere and I would have very little problem being recognized as legal and trained in a program that is recognized universally. I can also teach, which I did for 2 years (clinicals in nursing school) so I bring a natural and more consumer oriented approach. In fact, where I taught for 2 yrs. until recently, the director of that program specifically searched for homebirth midwives. Since there are more of us now, students are having less problems finding preceptors who have out of hospital practices. Yes, my school is warning me that they'll be calling  me to take on students, esp. just as soona s I can afford Malpractic einsurance, which I plan on getting in the summer of 2012. In many nurse-midwifery programs there is at least one instructor who has or had a homebirth practice, and mine had 4 instructors with

homebirth practices. At the program that I went through SUNY @ StonyBrook, You will be required to perform various assignments on homebirthing. The program there encourages students to search for out of hospital mentors. I expect to be swamped with those requests in a few years.

It was in nursing school where I had to jump through a couple hoops that were not related to natural birthing, (my nursing training was back in the mid 80's) but not in the nurse-midwifery program.

I hope my story has given you plenty to consider.

Contact me if you want to discuss more.

Karen Benfield, CNM and owner of BirthTender in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mtns

Edited by BirthTender - 6/4/12 at 4:01pm
post #14 of 22

Karen, so you do homebirths in the Charlotte area? 

post #15 of 22
Originally Posted by BirthTender View Post

...there are 9 of us (and one OB) through out the state with homebirth practices...

If the OB reference is Dr. Hayes I believe he stops practicing in June. 


OP, you may find some wisdom by posting in this group as well. Good luck!






post #16 of 22

Yes, i plan to, as Charlotte (awaiting NC license) is well w/in my traveling radius, I'm just up in Hickory.

Edited by BirthTender - 6/4/12 at 4:02pm
post #17 of 22

I'm trying to get a modearator to send me directions on how to ad a signature, and no one has sent those, yet, although I joined as a supporter 2 days ago, which enables me to advertise on hhere a little by having my credentials, CNM, and name of my Busniess, which is BirthTender. Can anyone provide these directions to me?


Karen Benfield, CNM and owner of BirthTender


And, yes, I heard from a client in Rutherfordton that Dr; Hayes is joining Doctors w/out Borders. All the best to him. I did a 3 week medical mission trip in Mexico in 2003 and thoroughly enjoyed giving care & midwifing without all the political hoopla of the US health care system.

Edited by BirthTender - 5/29/11 at 1:33pm
post #18 of 22

Karen - click on your user id at the upper(ish) right hand of the screen just under the purple border. If you then scroll down you'll see "your forum signature" and the ability to edit. Hopefully it's the same for you! 

post #19 of 22

Thanks, Kawa Kamuri,

The option that says "edit signature" does not show up for me. Maybe, I can call MDC later this week and have them to talk me through it. Only View Profile and there is nothing in my profile area to create or change a signature.


post #20 of 22

This thread is a little old, but i am also very intrested and in the same boat. Traditional schooling is reamining a bit out of reach for me and well frankly i've had it....I am studying on my own and preparing for CLEP exams to get my basic credits out of the way. I too am unsure as to wich direction id like to take because the CNM route is so lengthy and while that in it's self isnt bad, i do so passionatly want to actually get hands on experience even if it is just being in the room handing over warm blankets. I am a hands on learner and while i love learning i know that the longer i stay in cirriculum and confinds without being able to practice what i am learning I become weighed down by the beuracracy of it all and my studies become a heartache, i dont want that to happem. So really i would like to get advice on good books to read that will be information practicing midwives will appreciate in an aprentice. I want my CNM but more so i want to actively learn and be a valueable asset during the long  while I am getting a formal education. Most of all i want to start now, I am past pineing over lost time and bad circumstances, i can do something for other people i know i was made for this and ive got to start working on it now.

 I am in eastern NC not far at all from ECU(wich i know is one of the only places in nc to get your CNM training), if anyone is willing to use me or refer me to an 'underground' practicioner, if anyone is in the midwife program and can give me information about books and other materials that are essential in the education process, i would be extremly appreciative.


Thank you so much,



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