What is a Midwife?

A midwife is a professional who works in partnership with birthing families to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period.


  • Provide prenatal care, attend births, and provide postpartum care

  • Provide newborn care

  • Provide pelvic healthcare (Includes health counseling, family planning information, STD testing, birth control, and health education). AKA Well-Woman Care, Well-Person Care, Gyn Care.

Care from a midwife includes preventative measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in the birthing parent and child, and the referral to medical care and/or emergency care in the event of complications. About 1% of babies in California are born outside of the hospital. Most of those babies are born at home. The amount of Licensed Midwives, midwifery clients, and home births managed by those midwives doubled from 2007-2014.

There are two types of credentials for midwives in California.

Licensed Midwives (LM) have completed a 3-year program that includes both academic and clinical study.
While LMs legally can work in hospitals, most LMs work in homes and clinics, and all are required to have training in community (home or birth center) birth.

Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM) have completed nursing school and an advanced degree program in midwifery.
While CNMs legally can work in homes and birth centers, most Certified Nurse Midwives work in clinics and hospitals, and there is not a training requirement for community (home or birth center) birth.

Who can see a midwife for care?

Licensed Midwives care for healthy, normal, low-risk pregnancies:

  • One baby

  • Head-down

  • Term Birth (37-42 weeks)

Most Licensed Midwives are primarily cash pay, and some accept insurance (including Medi-Cal).
No LMs locally take Medi-Cal as payment for home birth however WHMS will begin taking Medi-Cal as early as January 2018.

Certified Nurse-Midwives can care for a wider scope of clients, in a wider variety of settings (including the hospital, including people planning to have pain medicine or who are high-risk).
Most CNMs are primarily paid for with insurance (including Medi-Cal), and some are cash pay.

Both types of midwives (LM and CNM) can provide collaborative care, meaning they can care for a client to supplement a doctor’s care. This is useful for clients who want or need extra support.

Who provides midwifery care in Sacramento?

  • Birth at the Hospital (with Certified Nurse-Midwives)

    • Sutter Davis Birthing Center (Davis, CA)

    • Mercy San Juan (Carmichael, CA)

    • All Kaiser Hospitals with L&D have Certified Nurse-Midwives Available 24/7

      • Kaiser Roseville

      • Kaiser South Sacramento

    • All hospital birth is covered by insurance, however expenses for a normal birth can be up to $15,000. Where you go and how much you pay depends on what insurance plan you have.

  • Birth in a Birth Center

  • Birth at Home

    • Midwives Collective of Sacramento (Licensed Midwives + one OB/GYN)

      • Cash fees range from $5200-$7000, vary by provider

      • Many can file for reimbursement with insurance (money back after the birth)

    • Welcome Home Midwifery Services, Inc. (Licensed Midwives)

      • Cash fees range from $2100-5500, vary by income

      • Can bill insurance or file for reimbursement

      • Medi-Cal Providers