Become a Midwife in PA

There a several routes of entry for homebirth midwives in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Which path a student chooses greatly depends on their personal background, values regarding the art of midwifery, and where they desire to practice.

The Midwives Alliance of Pennsylvania (MAP) is a professional trade organization representing midwives statewide.  We are a unified organization that share a passion and dedication to the rights of families to choose out-of-hospital births.  Our membership is made up of Certified Professional Midwives, Direct-Entry Midwives, Traditional Midwives, and Certified Nurse-Midwives.

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Various Types of Midwives Practicing in Pa

Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)

A Certified Professional Midwife is a knowledgeable, skilled, and professional independent midwifery practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and is qualified to provide the midwifery model of care. The CPM is the only international credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings.  A CPM is a type of direct-entry midwife who has completed a certification process. Currently, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not offer licensing or prescriptive authority for CPMs.

Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM)

A direct-entry midwife is an independent practitioner educated in the discipline of midwifery through self-study, apprenticeship, a midwifery school, or a college- or university-based program distinct from the discipline of nursing. A direct-entry midwife is trained to provide the Midwives Model of Care to healthy women and newborns throughout the childbearing cycle primarily in out-of-hospital settings. Currently, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not offer licensing or prescriptive authority for DEMs. DEMs include Traditional Midwives, Granny Midwives, Amish/Mennonite/Plain Midwives, and other specific cultural/spiritual community-based midwives.

Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)

A Certified Nurse-Midwife is an individual educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery, who possesses evidence of certification according to the requirements of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.  In Pennsylvania, CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives) can attend births in hospitals, birthing centers, and, with a written practice agreement with a current, practicing obstetrician, homebirths.  The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires licensing for CNMs.

How an Aspiring Midwife Can Obtain Knowledge and Skills

  • Become involved! Join MAP.  We have an Aspiring Midwife Representative that plans events especially for aspiring midwives in Pennsylvania.  Becoming involved will help answer your questions, address your concerns, and build a support network!
  • Complete MAP’s MAST Program:  We has developed MAP Assistant & Student Training (MAST) Program to help aspiring midwives gain the knowledge and skills they need to become midwife assistants. Find out more about this program.
  • Attend a midwifery program:  There are various types of programs.  In person, degree programs, intensive programs, and distance programs.  Find one that fits your professional goals and financial needs. Click here for a growing list of MEAC and non-MEAC accredited program, courses, and trainings.
  • Seek an apprenticeship: MAP members can seek the assistance of the Aspiring Midwife Representative when looking for experienced midwives in Pennsylvania that are willing to take on apprentices.  You can also seek out mentors/preceptors on your own.
  • Attend classes: Midwives use knowledge and skills from various disciplines.  Taking courses in phlebotomy, embryology, developmental psychology, human sexuality, and microbiology are all very useful.
  • Attend conferences: Most of the midwifery organizations listed on the Resource page hold regular conferences.  Attending will help you network with practicing midwives and provide educational opportunities.
  • Find a midwifery study and/or skills group: Find a local study group or organize on in your region.  The Aspiring Midwife Representative is working to organize study groups across Pennsylvania.  Contact us for more information.  You can also help organize skills training.  Nurses and other midwives can help teach aspiring midwives IV administration, suturing skills, well-woman exams and Pap exams.  Consider finding or organizing this type of training.
  • Become a midwife’s assistant, doula, or childbirth educator:  All three types of training are valuable on the path to becoming a midwife.  They lay a solid foundation of didactic information that can be built upon with further study and skills training.