While the work of midwifery assistants (MAs) and midwives (CPMs) overlap, the two take on very different roles during pregnancy and birth.
MAs are trained to serve pregnant and birthing people in many capacities throughout the childbearing year, including as fertility awareness educators, childbirth educators, belly casters, labor/birth doulas, postpartum doulas, placenta encapsulation specialists, and lactation support personnel. They are also able to work as skilled assistants to certified out-of-hospital midwives in home and birth-center birth.
Unlike CPMs, however, MAs do not fully manage care for pregnant, laboring, or postpartum clients. They are not trained as midwives and are not qualified to take on their own clients or to make healthcare decisions for their supervising midwife’s clients. While supplemental offerings such as childbirth education may be offered to the public, an MA works under the direct supervision of a midwife for all tasks related to pregnancy, labor/birth, and postpartum care.
While a student midwife works toward a credential that will allow them to be a primary care provider, a midwifery assistant works within a defined and limited scope. That scope is determined by their training, by their agreement with a supervising midwife, and – in some places – by the laws in their state. A midwifery assistant is not working towards proficiency in all of the skills needed to be an out-of-hospital maternity care provider; they are developing and sharpening all of the skills needed to become a capable second set of hands at a birth.
Transferring from a CPM program to an MA program
For students enrolled in Birthwise Midwifery School’s Midwifery Program, many of your credits transfer directly to the Midwifery Assistant Program. While some of the program’s courses are geared specifically toward MAs, many courses taken at an accredited midwifery school will transfer easily, allowing you to complete the program more quickly. For students transferring to the program from midwifery programs other than Birthwise Midwifery School, a maximum of 50% of academic credits can challenged. Transferability of credits will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Transferring from an MA program to a CPM program
It is possible to transfer from the MA program to a CPM program during your studies. Some of the smaller or more peripheral courses that we offer in the MA program (Fertility Awareness, Placenta Encapsulation, etc.) will transfer for Campus Option students because they are the same as (or more extensive than) the comparable elective courses from midwifery school. Core courses such as Normal Pregnancy, Assisting with Normal and Complicated Birth, etc. do not transfer and will need to be taken as part of the midwifery training program. Acceptance to the MA program does not guarantee acceptance into the midwifery program, and an MA student interested in transfer would need to go through the traditional application process in order to be considered for the midwifery program.