Inova is pleased to offer moms-to-be the option of working with a certified nurse midwife (CNM), a registered nurse with undergraduate and advanced degrees in nursing and midwifery from an accredited nurse-midwifery education program. Nurse midwives provide patient care during pre-conception, pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.

Find a midwife at Inova Alexandria Hospital

Find a midwife at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital

Find a midwife at Inova Loudoun Hospital

Find a midwife at Inova Women's Hospital

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The term "midwife" comes from the old English words for "with woman." Certified nurse-midwives are advanced practice providers who have specialty training in both obstetric and gynecologic care for health promotion, disease prevention, individualized assessment and management of both acute illness as well as recurrent health concerns. Midwives partner with you for many of your gynecologic health concerns and wellness, as well as for pregnancy, labor and delivery and postpartum recovery..

CNMs are registered nurses (RNs) who complete accredited graduate-level midwifery programs and pass a certification exam to become board certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board. In the state of Virginia, they are licensed nurse practitioners and have the opportunity for independent practice in provision of care within their full scope of privileges. They also can prescribe medications in the state of Virginia.

Midwifery care supports health across the lifespan, from puberty though menopause. CNMs can assist with sexual and reproductive health, family planning, gynecologic health, breast health and preconception care. They offer appointments for annual well-women preventive care, pap tests for cervical cancer screening, breast cancer screening and sexually transmitted infection screening.

You may see a midwife for a problem visit if you have menstrual, perimenopausal, vaginal or urinary tract symptoms. Midwives can help you with initiation and maintenance of contraception including IUDs and implantable contraception.

The main difference between physicians and nurse midwives is how they are trained and the scope of patients they are able to care for. Certified nurse midwives are registered nurses who obtain a Master of Science degree in nursing and are trained to care for clients with few health co-morbidities. Many people who prefer a low intervention childbirth seek out midwifery care.

Physicians have the ability to care for birthing persons with both uncomplicated and complicated medical issues and are able to provide additional interventions to increase the likelihood of a vaginal delivery when a baby or laboring person is in distress, such as a vacuum or forceps delivery, in addition to the ability to perform a cesarean delivery when vaginal delivery efforts fail or other unforeseen emergencies take place.

Yes. You have many options for comfort measures and pain management in labor, including epidurals, IV medications, birth balls, and fetal monitoring. Hydrotherapy is available in all rooms at Inova Loudoun Hospital and some rooms at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital. We welcome your doula if you choose to bring a one-on-one labor support companion.

Midwives are experts in supporting normal physiologic vaginal birth and are known to help improve outcomes and experiences of families during pregnancy, childbirth, and in the post-delivery period. While we do not currently offer birthing at your home or birthing in a tub, hydrotherapy can be utilized in our large showers equipped with seating in all our labor and delivery suites and water immersion tubs are offered for laboring at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital and Inova Loudoun Hospital.

Midwives specialize in uncomplicated and low-risk birth. Since we work in a team environment, there is always a doctor available to provide guidance if a complex situation arises. Together, we can provide a partnership to meet all of your needs for a healthy birth.