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Jonathan Rosenfeld

March 2, 2023

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Engaging the services of midwifery professionals is a growing trend among expectant mothers in the US today. More deliveries are done under midwifery care, as more mothers prefer pre-and post-natal services that focus on holistic approaches to delivering a child.

Unfortunately, there are instances when midwifery professionals fail to provide the expected standard of care. Failure to provide the standard level of care can pose an increased risk to the mother and the baby, who may suffer from life-altering severe injuries due to medical errors and negligence.


Is your child suffering from birth trauma due to the negligence of a midwife? Call Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or complete our online contact form. Our personal injury attorneys will review the details of your case and discuss your legal options free of charge.

You owe it to your family to pursue compensation from the responsible parties. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers offer our services on a contingency basis, so there is never a fee charged unless there is a recovery for you. Our law firm provides advice on the best legal action that fits a client’s specific situation.

The 5 Types of Midwives

Midwifery professionals are typically retained as healthcare professionals who can provide support and care during gestation and delivery. They help manage normal pregnancy, family planning, disease prevention, and gynecological examinations.

Below are the five types of midwifery professionals in the US, each differing in their certification and training:

Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)

Certified nurse-midwives are registered nurses who completed a graduate-level nurse-midwife program and received a certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) [1]. A certified nurse-midwife not only assists women during the gestation period but also delivers holistic care throughout a woman’s life. They provide primary care that includes:

  • Gynecological annual exams
  • Dispensing medications
  • Nutrition counseling

They are qualified to make medical decisions following the medical community’s standard of care. They may perform physical exams and diagnose and treat certain conditions. However, they are not qualified to perform C-sections and should seek the help of an OB-GYN for vacuum or forceps deliveries.

Expectant mothers planning to receive care from a CNM should also inquire about the provider’s medical professional affiliations. Every pregnancy has its risk, and even a low-risk one may have complications that require the assistance of an obstetrician.

Certified Midwife (CM)

The only difference between CMs and CNMs is that the CMs are non-nurses. A CM has similar training and scope of practice to a CNM, including completing a graduate-level midwifery degree program and AMCB certification.

Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)

CPMs receive certification from the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) [2]. The NARM credential demonstrates completion of a midwife training and experience in out-of-hospital settings.

Direct Entry Midwife

Direct entry midwives can practice midwifery even without a license or certificate from a regulatory body. They gained their skills via apprenticeship or a community program that does not involve nursing.

They are trained to assist gestation and delivery outside of a hospital setting. Strict rules guide the scope of their practices, and they are expected to have a supervising medical practitioner to consult with regarding their concerns for their patients.

Lay Midwife

A lay midwife gains midwifery skills through informal education, such as apprenticeship and self-study. They usually assist with deliveries at home or in birth centers; however, their training is not regulated, affecting their ability to recognize complications.

What to Look for When Seeking a Midwife for Natural Birth

Choosing a healthcare provider to offer assistance during pregnancy and after delivery is one of a pregnant mother’s important choices. Generally, many patients decide between a qualified obstetrician-gynecologist or a midwife.

Here are the things to consider when employing midwifery support during pregnancy and delivery:

  • Low-risk pregnancy vs. high-risk pregnancy: A licensed midwife is trained to handle low-risk pregnancies and deliveries. High-risk situations or complicated deliveries should be transferred to an OB-GYN or hospital that offers obstetrics through a licensed physician.
  • The preferred model of care: In midwifery, providers generally offer the same test as those that obstetricians typically provide. They are expected to provide information about the tests and screenings so the expectant mother can make informed decisions.
  • Specialized training: Seeking the assistance of a birthing professional for prenatal care and delivery requires specialized training, especially for mothers who prefer home births. Most OB-GYN clinics employ at least one midwife so they can assist more pregnant mothers.
  • Pain management: Consider the use of medications during delivery. Expectant mothers who want a medication-free delivery should mention this preference to the midwife.
  • Insurance coverage: An expectant mother should also ensure that the provider carries insurance coverage for medical malpractice when seeking midwifery services.

Midwife Medical Malpractice Insurance

About 32% of members of the American College of Nurse-Midwives [3] who participated in a survey admitted to being implicated in a medical malpractice case.

Liability insurance helps cover legal expenses and compensation that one must pay due to actual or alleged medical malpractice.

Why Midwives Should Carry Insurance to Cover Medical Malpractice

The risk of getting named in a midwife malpractice lawsuit requires midwifery practitioners and other medical professionals to carry malpractice insurance.

Midwifery professionals function in a highly litigious field. Even a highly skilled and cautious medical degree-professional can be implicated in medical malpractice cases.

On the one hand, insurance can protect the midwife’s practice and personal assets. Even if the court decides in favor of the provider, defending a malpractice suit can be costly. Also, recent surveys reveal that most malpractice cases were resolved out of court.

On the other hand, an expectant mother must also confirm that the midwife has insurance to cover medical malpractice liabilities. Typically, a midwifery professional is not bound to the same educational and professional standards as an OB-GYN. Requiring them to carry insurance ensures that they are bound to legal standards and are accountable for their services.

Midwife Malpractice Can Result in Serious Pain and Suffering

Midwifery professionals provide support to women during gestation, delivery, and postpartum. It is not surprising if a midwife appears in the delivery room instead of a licensed medical professional.

Most health professionals perform their duties with skill, compassion, and professionalism. They provide high-quality services to those who prefer to deliver their child naturally.

Even a single mistake by an untrained midwife may result in an adverse and irreversible outcome. It is, therefore, necessary to become aware of indications of high-risk pregnancies and deliveries.

For example, in case of any indication that the baby is not well, the best option is to seek the skills and knowledge of an OB-GYN to avoid permanent injury to the child.

Our lawyers handle many medical malpractice lawsuits. Our medical malpractice lawyer will help you pursue fair and just compensation so you can recover damages from the responsible parties. To arrange a free consultation with an experienced midwife malpractice attorney, call us at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call).

Midwifery Malpractice FAQs

There are several issues that many people should know before engaging the services of midwifery professionals. We’ve answered some of the frequently asked questions:

Are There Many Midwives Being Sued?

An analysis of historical malpractice claims concerning childbirth reveals an increasing number of midwives being sued for injuries to the mother and the baby. Below are significant categories where midwives can be held liable:

  • Alleged negligence in providing support during pregnancy and after delivery
  • Insisting on natural delivery when the situation requires a C-section
  • Serious injury to the mother due to vaginal birth after cesarean

What Does Insurance for Midwifery Malpractice Cover?

Pregnancy poses a risk not only to the mother and her child but also to the midwife. In several medical malpractice cases, providers are blamed for birth injuries, such as Cerebral Palsy and other undesirable newborn outcomes.

The insurance will cover monetary awards to the plaintiff and the attorney’s fees, and other costs incurred during the lawsuit.

What Are the Three Types of Malpractice?

The three common types of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis, medical errors, and birth injuries.

  • Misdiagnosis: Midwives are trained to attend to low-risk pregnancies only. They can be held liable for failing to diagnose a high-risk pregnancy that requires advanced care.
  • Medical errors: One of the most common medication errors includes wrong prescription and wrong time of drug administration.
  • Birth injuries: An injury to the baby may occur when the practitioner fails to recognize fetal distress. Failure to recognize fetal distress may cause permanent birth injury to the baby. Some of the possible injuries include developmental delays, Cerebral Palsy, and Erb’s palsy.

What Is an Example of Malpractice?

Some examples of malpractice include failure to provide adequate postpartum care. Every new mother must receive medical care to ensure that her health progresses well after delivery. A midwife that failed to administer postpartum care can be liable for negligence.

What Is Negligence in Midwifery?

Negligence in midwifery constitutes a mistake that causes injury to the mother and her child. Due to the nature of gestation and delivery, the provider’s slightest mistake may have adverse consequences resulting in midwife malpractice cases.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation With an Experienced Midwife Malpractice Lawyers

If you or your child incurred a severe birth injury due to midwife negligence, our malpractice attorney could help you.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC is a leading law firm based in Chicago, IL and handling cases across the U.S. We have helped thousands of families secure the compensation they needed to provide for a child who suffers from injuries due to medical malpractice.

Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) to arrange a free consultation with our midwife malpractice lawyer so that we can review the details of your claim.

We can also assure you that our services will cost you nothing if we cannot secure damages on your behalf. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our law firm remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Resources: [1] American Midwifery Certification Board, [2] North American Registry of Midwives, [3] American College of Nurse-Midwives

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