There are so many talented midwives, students, and advocates doing so many different things, that some of the alphabet soup of midwifery acronyms gets lost on the profession at large. (I confess to being confused sometimes too.) So to help myself and midwives everywhere, here (in no particular order) is a concise guide to the many organizations that govern, advise, and advocate for midwives in the United States (with quotes and links to their own websites). If I missed any organization that you think should be added to this list, please message me.
In 1982, the Midwives Alliance of North America was established as a non-profit (501 c 6) professional organization for all midwives. MANA grew out of a grassroots coalition of diverse types of midwives including nurse-midwives, lay midwives, direct-entry midwives, and traditional midwives from across North America. The impetus to create MANA was a desire to establish a professional home for all midwives that would recognize and honor the diversity of educational backgrounds and practice styles within the profession.
The mission of the American College of Nurse-Midwives is to support midwives and advance the practice of midwifery in order to achieve optimal health for women through their lifespan, with expertise in well woman and gynecologic care, promoting optimal pregnancy, physiologic birth, postpartum care, and care of the newborn. ACNM supports the practice of midwives by promoting education, research, and advocacy that advances clinical excellence, expansion of a diverse midwifery workforce, and equitable legislation, regulation, and institutional policies that establish midwifery as the standard of care for women.
The American Association of Birth Centers promotes and supports birth centers as a means to uphold the rights of healthy women and their families, in all communities, to birth their children in an environment which is safe, sensitive and cost effective with minimal intervention.
The National Association of Certified Professional Midwives implements a variety of initiatives and projects. NACPM recognizes the power of building and participating in coalitions to multiply its influence on policy, practice and outcomes. Today, NACPM partners with midwives, consumers and other stakeholders to unify and strengthen midwifery in the U.S. and to influence state and national policy to improve maternity outcomes throughout the country.
The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit membership organization that promotes the health of women and newborns. Our mission is to improve and promote the health of women and newborns and to strengthen the nursing profession through the delivery of superior advocacy, research, education and other professional and clinical resources to nurses and other health care professionals.
The Home Birth Summits
The Home Birth Summits and Data Taskforce bring a cross-section of the maternity care system into one room to discuss improved integration of services for all women and families in the United States. In 2011, 2013, and 2014 the Home Birth Summits convened a multidisciplinary group of leaders, representing all stakeholder perspectives, to address their shared responsibility for care of women who plan home births in the United States.
The mission of US MERA is to elevate and grow the profession of midwifery in all 50 states, and all territories and commonwealths by applying the ICM Standards to the education and practice of midwifery through collaboration and support of professional associations concerned with these issues in the United States.
The International Confederation of Midwives envisions a world where every childbearing woman has access to a midwife’s care for herself and her newborn. Our Mission is to strengthen Midwives Associations and to advance the profession of midwifery globally by promoting autonomous midwives as the most appropriate caregivers for childbearing women and in keeping birth normal, in order to enhance the reproductive health of women, their newborns and their families.
The Midwives Education Accreditation Council is an independent, nonprofit organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an accrediting agency of direct-entry midwifery institutions and programs.
The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (under ‘Health Care’) as a programmatic accrediting agency for nurse-midwifery education programs since 1982. In 1994, ACME approved criteria to accredit direct-entry midwifery education programs; the first program was preaccredited in April 1996. ACME currently accredits 39 programs offering nursemidwifery and midwifery programs. ACME is administratively and financially autonomous from the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
The American Midwifery Certification Board is the national certifying body for candidates in nurse-midwifery and midwifery who have received their graduate level education in programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). Certification by the AMCB is considered the gold-standard in midwifery certification and is recognized in all 50 states.
NARM’s mission is to provide and maintain an evaluative process for multiple routes of midwifery education and training; to develop and administer a standardized examination system leading to the credential “Certified Professional Midwife” (CPM); to identify best practices that reflect the excellence and diversity of the independent midwifery community as the basis for setting the standards for the CPM credential; to publish, distribute and/or make available materials that describe the certification and examination process and requirements for application; to maintain a registry of those individuals who have received certification and/or passed the examination; to manage the process of re-certification; and to work in multiple arenas to promote and improve the role of CPMs in the delivery of maternity care to women and their newborns.
The Association of Midwifery Educators (AME) is a non-profit organization committed to strengthening midwifery educators, schools, and administrators through connection, collaboration and coordination. All midwifery educators – preceptors, academic faculty, and school administrators – are welcome as members.
The Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery (FAM) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization seeking to improve maternal and child health by funding projects that advance midwifery as the gold standard for North American maternity care through research, public education, advocacy, and health equity initiatives.
The International Center for Traditional Childbearing, Inc. is a non-profit infant mortality prevention, breastfeeding support, and midwife training organization, comprised of women and men who want to improve birth outcomes and provide training opportunities in their communities.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) builds Latina power to guarantee the fundamental human right to reproductive health, dignity and justice. We elevate Latina leaders, mobilize our families and communities, transform the cultural narrative and catalyze policy change.
The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum works with communities to mobilize in order to influence policy and to strengthen their community-based organizations to achieve health equity for AAs and NHPIs across the country.
Changing Woman Initiative
The Changing Woman Initiative is a developing non-profit organization with the mission to renew cultural birth knowledge to empower and reclaim indigenous sovereignty of women’s medicine and life way teachings to promote reproductive wellness, healing through holistic approaches and to strengthen women’s bonds to family and community. We are focused on developing a culturally centered reproductive wellness and birth center.
Uzazi Village has been established to decrease the maternal and infant health disparities found in the urban core, particularly among African-American women, but also other at-risk populations residing there.
The Elephant Circle
Elephant Circle brings the strength of advocacy, scientific inquiry, information, and education to issues of birth and reproductive justice, protecting mothers, their children, families, and health providers. Elephant Circle was founded in 2009 with fiscal sponsorship from the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights.
Human Rights in Childbirth
Every woman has the right to access the healthcare support that she, personally, needs for a healthy birth.Every woman has the right to be respected as the decision-maker about her own care and her baby’s care. Every healthcare system should be equipped to meet women’s individual needs and personal decisions around childbirth. HRiC is committed to supporting the efforts of individuals and organizations working all over the world to promote the fundamental human rights of pregnant people.
The Big Push for Midwives
The mission of the Big Push for Midwives is to provide strategic planning and message development for state consumer and midwife groups that are actively working on legislation to license Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs), envisioning the day when CPMs are licensed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.
For nearly 100 years, Childbirth Connections has helped develop and advance many forms of care that are now critical components of the nation’s maternity care system. More recently, we launched a long-term program to promote evidence-based maternity care through policy and quality initiatives. We will continue working to improve and transform the nation’s maternity care system so that childbearing women and babies consistently receive high-quality, woman- and family-centered care.
And a few more just for good measure…
March of Dimes
The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
We work both at home and abroad to tackle the most pressing human rights violations.
Integrative Health Policy Consortium
We envision a world with no barriers to health.
Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care
Our mission is to continually improve patient safety in women’s health care through multidisciplinary collaboration that drives culture change.