The 5 Most Common Myths About Midwives

Author: Sherry Farney

While many women are very familiar with an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) as a women’s health care provider, many others have misconceptions about midwifery care.

Myth #1: A midwife doesn’t have much education.

This is incorrect. There are three types of midwives. Those with the highest level of training are Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM). A CNM has a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery and is a registered nurse who has graduated from an accredited midwifery program and passed a national certification exam. They must have a license to practice in their state, can prescribe most medications, and must practice in a hospital setting. They must perform continuing education and be recertified every five years. McLaren Flint only has CNMs on staff.

Myth #2: Midwives only attend home births. 

“This is incorrect,” said Rachelle Marble, CNM at McLaren Flint. “This is one of the two most common questions I’m asked. Across the United States, over 95 percent of all births happen in a hospital. All of McLaren Flint’s midwifery-assisted births happen at the hospital.”

Myth #3: Midwives only support natural births.

Again, this is incorrect. The birthing experience with a midwife can be as natural as the mom-to-be would like, but pain medications can be used. You can also change your mind along the way. For those expectant moms who prefer natural childbirth, the midwives have a variety of techniques to help with the process, including massage therapy, breathing techniques, yoga balls, peanut balls, hydrotherapy in a jacuzzi tub, and an upright birthing chair.

Myth #4: Midwives only see patients for pregnancies and births.

“Not true,” said Lisa Cavett, MSN, RN, CNM at McLaren Flint. “Midwives provide much of the same care as OB/GYNs. This includes pregnancy, labor and labor pain management, birth, as well as family planning, preconception and infertility counseling, prescriptions, contraception, gynecologic care, cancer screening and clinical breast exams, immunizations, menopause care, sexual health management, sexually transmitted infections, and well-women and primary care visits.”

Myth #5: I can’t be under the care of a midwife if I am a high-risk patient.

This is dependent on the patient’s high-risk condition is. In some cases, a transfer of care to an OB/GYN will be needed. 

Midwives and OB/GYNs are both health professionals who will guide you from the teen years through menopause and beyond. And yes, it is a myth that insurance does not include midwifery care benefits. In fact, this is a healthcare service that most insurance carriers pay for.  To learn more about women’s health services at McLaren Flint or to meet our providers, visit