Who are Midwives and What do They Do?
The word “midwife” means “with woman [sic]” and the midwife model of care is, fundamentally, patient-centered. Midwifery recognizes pregnancy and childbearing as normal physiological processes and seeks to deliver care that empowers you to assume responsibility for your health and your families’ health. This article pertains to Midwives practicing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Insurance, hospital policies, and state licensers outside of this region in California may differ from what’s written below. If you have any specific questions regarding midwifery care that aren’t addresses in this post, I would advise you to contact one of the Midwives listed below.
How are They Licensed?
There are two main pathways for a Midwife to obtain education and training in California which will dictate where and how they practice, and their state licensure; Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) and Licensed Midwife/Certified Professional Midwife (LM/CPM). Once a midwife has received the appropriate licensure, they are authorized to attend cases of normal pregnancy and childbirth, and to provide prenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum care for the birthing parent and immediate care for the newborn. They can also provide well-women (PAPS) and family-planning care (contraceptives). Kindly note: if you are considered at high-risk or expecting multiples, you will need to seek the care of an OB/GYN.
Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)
Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM) complete a nurse-midwifery program, meaning they are registered nurses who acquired additional training in the field of obstetrics and are certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM). They are licensed by the California Board of Registered Nursing and cannot perform surgeries, but may be able to assist during surgery. When they embark on their clinical training, they must choose to train under the preceptorship of a hospital midwife or a out-of-hospital midwife which dictates their hospital privileges and pediatric services. In most cases they cannot assist VBACs.
Licensed Midwife (LM) & Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)
Licensed Midwives (LM) complete a direct-entry midwifery program. They must first pass the North American Registry of Midwives’ (NARM) comprehensive examination which licenses them nationally as a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) before applying in California to become a License Midwife. A Licensed Midwife is certified by the California Board of Medicine and cannot perform surgery. They cannot care for anyone considered at high-risk or expecting multiples. They are trained to deliver babies out-of-hospital and receive extensive birth emergency skills training. In the event of an emergency transfer during your birth, your primary care will likely transfer to the OB on-staff. They are licensed to provide pediatric care for up to 6 weeks and can provide care for VBACs.
What are my Bay Area Options for Midwifery Care?
If you would like a professional recommendation for one of these care providers, please contact me today. Otherwise enjoy this complimentary list of midwives currently practicing in the SF Bay Area.
In-hospital midwifery practices usually have office locations offsite from the hospital. Some midwifery practices are an extension of the hospital maternity care services and some practices are independently operated by the midwives themselves. This can make a difference in the structure of their care, how often you visit, and when and how tests are preformed.
Kaiser Redwood City
Redwood City, CA
Kaiser San Jose
San Jose, CA
Bay Area Midwives (BAM) at El Camino Los Gatos
Los Gatos, CA
Midwives Tea and Orientation hosted by BAM on the 2nd Sunday of each month.
Dominican Hospital Birth Center
Santa Cruz, CA
Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz Birth Center
Santa Cruz, CA
Community-based midwives provide care for families planning to birth at home or in a birth center. Most of their care and testing is done in-house, either at their office or in the comfort of your own home. If you are interested in birthing at a center, check out Birth Area Birth Centers.
Diana Vallarta Koroi, LM, CPM
Faith Gibson, LM CPM
Hope Williams, LM, CPM
Melissa Dean, LM, CPM
Santa Cruz Midwives
Serena Russell, LM, CPM
Shannon Purpuri, LM CPM
Sunshine Tomlin, LM
Yelena Kolodji, CNM, RN