Midwife Scope of Practice

Midwife Scope of Practice

Midwife Scope of Practice
The midwifery scope of practice is defined as the range of roles, functions, responsibilities and activities which a registered midwife is educated, competent and has the authority to perform in the context of the midwifery definition. The SOMP can also be defined as the extent or limits of intervention that a midwife can perform.

Importance of understanding Scope of Practice for Midwives


Midwives’ services include comprehensive assessment, diagnosis and treatment. They conduct physical examinations; prescribe medications including contraceptive methods and controlled substances; admit, manage and discharge patients; order and interpret laboratory and diagnostic tests. In providing care they consult, collaborate, and refer to and with other health care professionals to ensure individuals receive team-based medical care consistent with medical needs and personal preferences.

A growing number of U.S. mothers are turning to midwives for prenatal care, labor and birth.  Research may tell us why – it shows that the midwifery model translates to substantial benefits in both maternal and infant health. Findings indicate that women who are cared for by midwives have fewer preterm births, less medical interventions, reduced labor inductions, lower use of regional anesthesia, decreased rates of cesarean birth and a 50% reduction in delivery cost.

In fact, when a woman receives midwife care during pregnancy or birth, she has a 33 % lower risk of miscarriage, 19% lower risk of infant death and 31% lower risk of having a baby with low birth weight. The number of mothers opting for midwives over obstetricians is increasing:  Since 1989, the percentage of certified nurse midwife-attended births has risen nearly every year.  In 2014, nurse midwives attended 8.3% of hospital births, an 11% increase since 2005.

Midwives are getting known and with this, giving proper expectation to what they can truly provide is a step they must initiate. They should let the community be aware of the type of practice they can deliver. Avoiding crucial events is another way they can preserve the virtue of midwifery community.


The scope of midwifery practice differs state by state. In an independent practice state, CNMs can practice with full autonomy and prescriptive authority. Other states require CNMs to enter a collaborative or supervisory agreement, designating which practices require additional consent or supervision of a partnering physician. Hospital systems can further regulate Nurse-Midwives beyond this scope of practice. Taking measures to fully understand the scope of midwifery practice is a smart way to enter the world of midwifery. Know more about CNM, CM, and CPM Scope of Practice for each State by clicking the link provided below.

This is a great introductory course into midwifery and birth centers for anyone wanting to learn more about this amazing profession! Going Back to Basics: Midwifery Scope & Standards

Scope of Practice for Certified Nurse Midwives

Scope of Practice for Certified Professional Midwives


Kerry. (2017, March 27). Capacity building efforts help practices expand access to midwifery care. Health Foundation for Western & Central New York. Retrieved July 15, 2022, from https://hfwcny.org/capacity-building-efforts-help-practices-expand-access-midwifery-care/

How does the role of nurse-midwives change from State to state? GU-MSN. (2021, April 9). Retrieved July 15, 2022, from https://online.nursing.georgetown.edu/blog/scope-of-practice-for-midwives/

Nurse-Midwifery. Scope of Practice | Nurse-Midwifery | MSN | School of Nursing | Vanderbilt University. (n.d.). Retrieved July 15, 2022, from https://nursing.vanderbilt.edu/msn/nm/nm_scope.php#:~:text=Midwives%20provide%20comprehensive%20assessment%2C%20diagnosis,interpret%20laboratory%20and%20diagnostic%20tests.

Scope of midwifery practice: Concept analysis – researchgate. (n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317151882_Scope_of_Midwifery_Practice_Concept_Analysis