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Midwives are catching!
For centuries women have turned to midwives for support and assistance during childbirth and for 'women’s mysteries'. The word 'midwife' means 'with woman' and is derived from the old English/German words mitt (with) and wif (woman).  Today’s Certified Nurse-Midwife provides care to women across the lifespan. Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) are educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery. They are Registered Nurses who have graduated from a nurse-midwifery educational program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Midwifery Education (ACME). They are 'certified' when they pass a national examination given by the American Midwifery Certification Board, and are licensed as advanced practice nurses in their states to practice nurse-midwifery.  All 50 states license CNMs.
CNMs provide health care for women, offering an individualized approach to care. Midwifery care includes preconception care, prenatal care, labor & delivery care, care after birth, gynecological exams, newborn care, family planning and birth control, menopausal care, and counseling in health maintenance and disease prevention. CNMs also provide primary health care. Nurse-midwives listen to women, educate women, and encourage women to take an active role in their healthcare. Nurse-midwives are experts in normal pregnancy, birth, the postpartum period and well women gynecology. Nurse-midwifery care is woman-centered, holistic and based on the philosophy that health care should be safe and satisfying. Nurse-midwives are committed to promoting the health of women through complete and evidence-based information, autonomy in decision-making and support of the normalcy of pregnancy, birth and the many other cycles in the lives of women. Nurse-midwives are qualified to prescribe medications, perform medical procedures and utilize medical technology within their scope of practice, and as medically necessary. Nurse-midwives maintain established relationships with physicians for consultation, collaboration, or referral as needed. Nurse-midwives follow the Standards of care outlined by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. For more information on CNMs:
In Colorado, CNMs are independent licensed practitioners. There are close to 300 CNMs in our state.  10% of all births in Colorado are attended by CNMs. Most CNM births occur in hospitals, although some nurse-midwives attend births in the home or in a freestanding birth center.
Find a CNM near you! Discover the difference when you partner with a Certified Nurse-Midwife for your healthcare!
·         Most women are great candidates for nurse-midwifery care
·         A CNM involves you as an active participant in your care
·         A CNM talks to you, listens to you and involves your partner in the pregnancy care and birth of your baby
·         A CNM physically and emotionally supports you during labor
·         A CNM will educate you and support you in making healthy lifestyle choices
·         A CNM attends to your cultural, spiritual and personal beliefs
·         A CNM will support your choice of a natural childbirth
·         A CNM will support your choice for a non-medicated birth
·         A CNM will also support the choices you make for your labor and birth
A CNM will support you in your plan to breastfeed your baby

About Midwifery: About
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The Mission of ACNM:

ACNM works to establish midwifery as the standard of care for women. We lead the profession through education, clinical practice, research, and advocacy. 

Our Values:

Woman-Centered Care
The woman is at the core of our practice. ACNM and its members respect a woman’s lifecycle events. We approach life events, such as puberty, birth, and menopause, as physiologic transitions that are best supported by education and midwifery expertise.

Our members build partnerships with women and their families by listening and providing information, guidance, and counseling in a shared decision-making process. We partner with other members of the health care team through collaboration and referral to provide optimal care and to advance the integration of midwifery care into the health care system.

ACNM amplifies women’s voices on health issues. We advocate on behalf of women and families, our members, and the midwifery profession to eliminate health disparities and increase access to evidence-based, quality care. This includes the promotion of standards for entry to practice and continuing competency; funding for education and reimbursement for services; and increasing the visibility and recognition of the value of midwifery care.

About Midwifery: Welcome


Click here for a graphic depiction of this timeline.

We are indebted to the pioneer, frontier, and urban midwives who paved the way for the practice of midwifery in Colorado. Their work provided the foundation for the recent advancement of midwifery as illustrated in this timeline. The timeline captures events starting in the 1970’s.


  • May 27,1977 - "Legal Midwifery Returns to State June 1” - The original legislation in 1977 provided for nurse-midwives being regulated by the Board of Nursing. It provided exemption under the Medial Practice for Certified Nurse-Midwives who were licensed under the Board of Nursing, Certified by ACNM and practiced under supervision of a physician.

  • Linda Vieira becomes first CNM in private practice in Apsen and becomes the first CNM to deliver a baby in Colorado. (8/77)

  • Second birth by Karen Hangsleben, CNM in Trinidad in October ‘77.

  • Denver Birth Center (Loretta Ivory)


  • University of Colorado Hospital Faculty UNM (University Nurse Midwives) practice opens (Betty Jennings and Margaret Edmundson)

  • Univeristy Nurse Midwives training Grant (Cathy Anderson)


  • ACNM starts chapter in Colorado

  • Curriculum developed at University of Colorado (Pre-accreditation from ACNM)


  • Private Practices Open Throughout Denver

  • Rose Medical Center Nurse-Midwifery Service (a faculty practice of the University of Colorado College of Nursing) (Cathy Anderson, Judy Tinney, Joyce Porier)

  • Aurora - OB-Gyn Associate (Margaret Edmundson and Elaine Francis)

  • University of Colorado College of Nursing admits first class of 6 under acting director, Betty Jennings

  • Dr. Colleen Conway-Welch is Program Director from 1980-1984


  • ACNM Convention in Colorado for first time


  • Private Practices Continue to Open Throughout Colorado

  • With Women in Denver (Joyce Porier and Ruth Parker)

  • Women’s Care in Ft. Collins (Dian Sparling, Sally Mather)

  • The first class graduates from University of Colorado College of Nursing. Graduates were: Karen Belanski, Anita McWatters, Judy Quill, Susan Shippey, and Laurie Waylander.


  • Mesa Midwives in Grand Junction opens (Janet Grant)

  • Center CO opens (Susan Wheeler)

  • Univeristy of Colorado College of Nursing receives ACNM accreditation


  • A law that identified who must be reimbursed for services and insurance plans was amended to add Registered Professional Nurses. This applied to commercial insurance plans but not HMOs. At about the same time Medicaid in Colorado provided for 100% reimbursement for nurse-midwifery provided births.


  • Region V Award for Excellence was presented to Ruth Doran, one of the original members of the Organizing Committee for ACNM


  • Advanced Practice Registry Legislated - It defined APN's as nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists and clinical specialists. Most APN's, including CNMs, were to be certified by their national certifying agency if such certification existed; it was not yet available for all clinical specialists.  This was necessary before prescriptive authority legislation could be introduced which happened the next year. (Note: All APNs were not required to be nationally certified until 2005.)


  • Prescriptive Authority


  • University of Colorado Hospital begins offering water births


  • Removed supervisory clause in Medical Practice Act

  • Ability of client to seek provider of choice


  • Center for Midwifery at University of Colorado Hospital opens (Erica Schwartz, Anne Mariella and Jessica Anderson)


  • Regional Award of Excellence from ACNM Annual Meeting (Karol Krakauer)


  • Mountain Midwifery Birth Center Opens

  • University of Colorado Hospital (Center for Midwifery) begins offering water births to clients


  • Regional Award of Excellence from ACNM Annual Meeting (Betty Jennings)

  • Tanya Tanner, MSN, CNM, DNP held the elected national ACNM treasurer position (’07-’13)


  • Bloomin’ Babies Birth Center opens in Grand Junction. It is run by Frontier Nursing University Graduate, Patty Kandiko. It is the first birth center on the Western Slope.

  • Denver Health begins offering Water Birth to clients


  • ACNM Annual Meeting returns to Denver

Timeline Compiled By Midwifery Students: Sarah Drexler, BSN,RN, SNM, (Frontier Nursing University, Rebecca Heck, BSN, MPH, RN, SNM, (University of Colorado)
Designed by: Stacy Howard

About Midwifery: About
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