Midwives: Certified and Direct-Entry

Midwives have come a long way since the days of "granny ladies" in rural villages. Today, midwives are delivering babies in major metropolitan hospitals, birthing centers, and homes across Texas, combining the instincts of granny with the extensive training required of their profession.

There are two types of midwives: certified nurse midwives and direct-entry midwives. CNMs are trained as registered nurses and then licensed as advanced practice nurses specializing in midwifery. They are supervised by the state Board of Nurse Examiners and generally work with physicians in hospitals -- Austin is the only major city in Texas without midwifery services in any hospital.

Direct-entry midwives, who typically provide professional assistance for at-home births, must pass an extensive training program, an apprenticeship, and an exam. They are regulated by the Texas Midwifery Board; midwives and their advocates successfully fought a legislative effort in the last regular session that would have transferred control of that board from the state Department of Health to a medical board more directly dominated by physicians.

Those who believe there is nothing natural about natural childbirth should talk to women who've had midwife-attended births. The experience made a believer out of Amy Chamberlain, president of the Austin chapter of Texans for Midwifery. "I never expected it to be such a wonderful milestone in my life," she said. Similarly, Gloria Perez-Walker, president of Latina Mamí, a support group for young Hispanic mothers, said her home birth provided her with the experience of a lifetime. "I couldn't believe how calm I was."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Amy Smith
The Work Matters
The Work Matters
A look back at some of our most impactful reporting

Sept. 3, 2021

Well-Behaved? Let's Assume Not.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story
Barbara Leaming's new biography makes the case that Jackie O suffered from PTSD

Nov. 28, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

midwives, certified nurse midwives, CNM, direct-entry midwives, Texas Midwifery Board, Department of Health, Amy Chamberlain, Latina Mami, Gloria Perez Walker, Texans for Midwifery

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle