Hello, welcome to another exciting comparative analysis of a CNM vs OBGYN.

This article shall look at the education, scope of practice, and remuneration of CNMs, and OBGYNs.

At the end of this article, you will understand the similarities and differences between the two specialties, their workplace settings, etc.

This article shall discuss the following:

  • CNM vs OBGYN – Overview
  • Scope of Practice
  • Education Requirements
  • Workplace Environments
  • Salary and Job Outlook

So, let us continue!

CNM vs OBGYN – Overview

CNM vs OBGYN - Overview

When you find out that you are pregnant, you need to look for a medical expert specializing in providing prenatal care, such as a Medical Doctor or other healthcare providers.

In most situations, the care provider will require a decision between an OBGYN (Obstetrician and Gynecologist) and a Midwife.

Both of these professionals bring a wealth of information regarding prenatal care.


However, if you do enough research on the internet, you will find that certain individuals are steadfastly on either the team of the OBGYN or the team of the Midwife.

In addition, these individuals may be found advocating for either side of the debate.

Even though they both offer the same kinds of services, OBGYNs and Midwives could have different ideas on how labor and delivery should be carried out.

And depending on your case, you might find yourself working with a Midwife and an OBGYN in some instances.

It is essential to look for a Healthcare Professional who focuses on the patient’s needs and inspires trust and confidence in the patient.

Scope of Practice

What Do Labor and Delivery Nurses Do

An OBGYN or a Midwife can provide family planning, pre-conceptual care, birthing, and postpartum care; a Nurse can also deliver these services.

In addition to this, both offer gynecological care, which may involve screenings for the early detection of disease.

Midwives can provide care for women who are viewed as having a pregnancy with low risk, while OBGYNs can provide care for women who are regarded as having either a pregnancy with low risk or a high-risk pregnancy.

Even though many Midwives advocate for having natural childbirth, they can offer pain relief in epidural or prescription medicines to patients who request them during labor or childbirth.

During childbirth, OBGYNs are more likely to use birthing interventions like instrument deliveries, according to research.

On the other hand, Midwives are prohibited by law from doing so.

After comparing two groups of women with low-risk pregnancies, research indicated that the outcomes for both the fetus and the mother were comparable when comparing births attended by a Midwife or an OBGYN.

The following are some of the key tasks that OBGYNs have:

  • Helping pregnant women in giving birth in medical facilities
  • Carrying out examinations to assess the state of health and growth of the developing fetus
  • Providing prescriptions for medication when it’s required
  • Assisting with common problems that occur during pregnancy, such as nausea in the morning
  • They maintain regular contact with pregnant moms and conduct checks on their well-being to protect their own and their unborn child’s health
  • Recognizing and avoiding potential difficulties during a patient’s labor and delivery is a priority

These are some of the most significant responsibilities that Certified Nurse-Midwives:

  • Recognizing patients’ concerns and referring them to Obstetricians when necessary employing a minimum of medical technology and medicine to speed up the labor and delivery process
  • Staying by the patient’s side during the entire labor and delivery process
  • Offering both counseling and educational opportunities
  • Taking care of their patient’s social, mental, emotional, and physical needs, as well as those of their patients’ families
  • Offering medical advice on pain management and pain medications during labor and delivery

Education Requirements

Education Requirements

To become a Nurse-Midwife or an Obstetrician and Gynecologist, you need to complete distinct stages of your education in the medical field; this is likely the most obvious difference between the two types of Healthcare Practitioners.

After completing four years of the medical school program, four more years of residency, and three more years of specialty training, one can become an Obstetrician and Gynecologist.

A Registered Nurse license is the first prerequisite for becoming a Certified Nurse-Midwife.

After that, to acquire your Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) credential, you will need to earn a graduate degree in midwifery and then pass a national certification exam.

CNMs who have received this certification can work in any jurisdiction or state.

Education Requirements

In obstetrics and childbirth, Nurse Midwives and Physicians have comparable levels of education and experience; nevertheless, Nurse Midwives are not allowed to carry out all of the same treatments as Physicians.

Obstetricians are the only medical professionals who have the necessary training to deliver a baby through surgical means, such as a C-section (or cesarean section) if it is medically necessary to deliver the infant.

In other words, Obstetricians can perform surgical childbirth while Certified Nurse-Midwives can’t.

Certification and Training

Certification and Training

Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) have completed a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with a midwifery concentration and the training required to become Registered Nurses.

After earning a degree in midwifery nursing, prospective Nurse-Midwives must pass the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) exam.

After completing this exam (consisting of one hundred seventy-five questions), a Nurse-Midwife will be able to work as a CNM

Within the first 24 months after completing their master’s program, Nurse-Midwives are allowed four attempts to pass the certification exam.

If a candidate is unsuccessful on the fourth trial within 24 months, they must complete an additional accredited Nurse-Midwife degree program before taking the exam again.

On the other hand, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology—ABOG is the organization that determines the training and education standards for OB-GYNs.

Some of these requirements are:

  • Graduation from medical school at an accredited institution
  • A four-year Obstetrician-Gynecologist residency program and accreditation from the ACGME
  • Clinical rotations: Obstetrics, gynecology, gynecologic oncology, reproductive endocrinology, and ultrasonography

Workplace Environments

Workplace Environments

CNMs need to be ready to operate in a diverse range of settings and environments within the healthcare industry.

Certified Midwives can work in various settings, including private practices, public health clinics, public hospital settings, university hospitals, birthing centers, and either private or public hospitals.

It is common practice for hospitals and outpatient clinics to employ Obstetrician-Gynecologists.

They might decide to specialize in a particular area, such as infertility, cancer, or pregnancies considered high-risk.

Required Skill Sets

Skills Required by a NICU Nurse

To become a Midwife, you need to have several qualities and abilities, including the following:

  • A compassionate and empathetic demeanor, as well as the ability to get along well with individuals from divergent walks of life
  • Emotional and mental fortitude, good observational skills, the ability to act on one’s initiative, patience, and maturity
  • A willingness to take responsibility, deal effectively with upsetting circumstances, and maintain composure in the face of stress are all necessary qualities
Salary and Job Outlook

Additionally necessary are skills in counseling, listening, and general communication.

There will be a great need for guidance and assistance among many women, particularly new mothers.

OBGYNs are required to have a combination of technical knowledge and personal skills.

For instance, they must be knowledgeable in their respective fields, but they also need to be effective communicators who can empathize with others.

Required Skill Sets

Other important competencies and credentials required of OB-GYNs are:

  • Active listening skills
  • The capacity to manage other individuals who are involved in patient primary care
  • The capacity to devise individualized treatment strategies
  • Competence with all of the necessary medical devices for the treatment Problem-solving abilities
  • The capacity to offer treatment that is correct and effective, notwithstanding the presence of pressure

Salary and Job Outlook

Salary and Job Outlook

The table below shows the annual salaries and hourly rates for Certified Nurse-Midwives and OB-GYN by state.


OBGYN Annual Salary

OBGYN Hourly Wage

CNM Annual Salary

CNM Hourly Wage











New York















New Hampshire










South Carolina











































































West Virginia





Rhode Island




















North Dakota










New Jersey



































South Dakota















North Carolina








































New Mexico
















Conclusion on What is a CNM?

Both of these specialties involve assisting patients before, during, and after the stages of pregnancy.

A Midwife is qualified to provide prenatal care and delivery services for her patients.

In contrast, an Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB-GYN) has received further training and has more years of experience than a General Practitioner, enabling them to give their patients more comprehensive treatment.

When deciding between a Midwife or an Obstetrician career, you should be aware that Nurse-Midwives’ growth in career opportunities will be stronger by 2029.

The BLS—Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that the number of jobs available for Obstetricians will reduce by one percent through the next decade.

In comparison, the number of jobs available for Midwives will increase by twelve percent.

Population expansion will be a primary factor in driving job growth in these fields.


FAQs on RN to CNM

Does CNM or OBGYN earn more money?

When you compare the usual salaries of Obstetricians and Certified Nurse-Midwives, you will discover that Nurse-Midwives earn less than Obstetricians do on average. The typical income for a CNM is $105,030 per year, while the typical income for Obstetricians and Gynecologists is $208,000 per year.

Is CNM better than OBGYN?

If your pregnancy is low-risk during delivery and considering natural birthing or home birth, you should consider hiring an experienced and Certified Nurse-Midwife. However, regardless of the danger, if you’re more comfortable having a Medical Doctor provide your care, an OBGYN may be more suitable.  

Can CNM or OBGYN perform a C-section? 

C-sections are not something midwives can perform, whether planned or necessary, to deliver the baby safely, unlike the OBGYNs. OBGYNs have the surgical skills and experience to execute scheduled, unplanned, and emergency C-sections, which is one of the reasons they can treat high-risk or complex pregnancies.

Can CNM or OB-GYN perform home birth?

OBGYNs almost always deliver infants within a birth center affiliated with a hospital.
However, there are a few distinct methods that midwives might use to deliver babies:
– Midwives are the medical experts who assist in the labor and home birth delivery process for low-risk pregnancies.

Can CNM or OB-GYN provide an epidural?

Both Midwives and OBGYNs can give you a variety of options, regardless of whether or not you want pain medications throughout your labor or you are not sure you want an epidural. Births with minimal or no use of pain medication are often the Midwives’ areas of expertise.


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