How Nurse Midwives Can Ease the OB-GYN Shortage

The future of maternal care hangs in the balance as the United States faces a deficiency in the number of OB-GYN physicians across the nation. This is not a dramatic overstatement.

The reality for American women is that there will be an extreme shortage of up to 8,000 OB-GYNs by 2020. This data comes from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which projects that the shortage will continue into the decades ahead with 22,000 empty slots by 2050.

Information from the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) indicates that women in more than 50 percent of U.S. counties already do not have local access to an OB-GYN provider or a nurse midwife. It’s also important to know that American women experience 18.5 maternal deaths per every 100,000 live births according to statistics from The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Together, these factors combine to create a perfect storm that can devastate the quality of women’s healthcare. On the other hand, these shortages can open doors to more opportunities for nursing professionals and those who want to step up and be part of the solution as a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM).

Filling the Gap in Reproductive Care

Nurse-midwifery has a long tradition in America dating back to the Colonial days. Over the centuries, the popularity of nurse midwifery ebbed and flowed depending on social norms and medical advancements. Today, the vast majority of nurse midwives are employed in hospitals and birthing centers.

The number of nurse midwives has increased by approximately 30 percent since 2012. However, the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the need for additional advanced practice nurses will continue to grow at an equivalent rate through 2024.

That data aligns with predictions from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) which estimates a record 4.2 million births by 2030. The primary reason for this is an expectation that the female population of the U.S. will increase by 18 percent over the next 15 years. The timing could not be better for Nurses who want to explore midwifery as the next step in their career.

Gaining the Necessary Credentials

Nurse midwives are the champions of the modern woman, demanding optimal levels of patient- and family-centered care.

Choosing to practice as a nurse-midwife requires a passion for women’s health, with a commitment to delivering holistic care for the mind, body, and spirit. You should have the strength and confidence to guide a mother through the joys and challenges of pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum experiences.

You will also need to gain additional education, such as an online Master of Science in Nursing degree.

It is important that you select an MSN program that offers a nurse midwifery specialty focus and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). Also be sure to look for a proven track record of graduates who have successfully passed the American Midwifery Certification Board, Inc. (AMCB, Inc.) certification exam.

The impending OB-GYN shortage is real and so is your opportunity to play an integral role in the future of women’s health. Learn how you can pursue an online Master of Science in Nursing degree that meets your goals, needs, and high standards for nursing care.


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United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

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