What Is the Difference Between Certified Nurse Midwife (CMA) and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)?

Advanced-practice nurses who specialize in providing care for women of all ages have – WHNP (Women’s health nurse practitioners) credentials.

WHNPs deal with reproductive, gynecological disorders, and focus on preventive health maintenance.

Some WHNPs are trained to treat specific chronic issues in those fields.

The Certified Nurse Midwives focus on women’s reproductive health but specialize in pregnancy, childbirth, and labor.


The education requirements and the process of becoming CNM and WHNP are quite similar.

Both WHNPs and CNMs are advanced-practices nurses with masters degree or they have completed a doctoral degree program.

Students further choose a focus of their studies towards labor or toward women’s health.

The courses are similar in theoretical and practical terms.

However, CNM courses focus on providing care during labor and in the neonatal and postpartum.

Where do CNMs and WHNPs work?

The clinic setting is the most common for both WHNPs and CNMs.

The WHNP can provide care from an early age to the aging years, and act as a primary care provider.

This kind of enrollment often results in a life-long relationship between a nurse and a patient or patient’s family.

Other working settings are inpatient, for example, emergency rooms.

In that case, a WHNP treats women admittance to the hospital due to issues with gynecological health.

Sometimes WHNPs work together with physicians in some procedures and surgeries related to women’s health.

CNMs also work in clinics, but their job role is to educate patients on family planning,, prenatal health and labor.

Manu CNMs shifts are in birth centers.

They care for patients during antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum periods.

Also, they can help stabilize a newborn after childbirth or intervene in the abnormal childbirth procedure.

They are in charge of both mother and fetus when they need intensive care.


The duties of WHNP and CNM vary but may overlap in some situations.

The primary duties of a WHNP are woman exams and issues with preventive health.

WHNP educates women and prescribes contraception.

They can also educate women on menopause and diagnose any issues with ovarian cysts, infertility, cancer, and other disorders.

WHNPs can order diagnostic tests and interpret the results.

The duties of a CNM are slightly different, but they also can educate and prescribe birth control.

Other duties are assistance with family planning, prenatal education, dating pregnancy.

They are also in charge of screening for congenital disabilities.

CNMs have a significant role during labor – they assist and manage complications.

CNMs also monitor fetal development, perform episiotomies, and occasionally, assist in breastfeeding.

Salary and Job Opportunities

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the annual median salary of $100.910 for WHNPs and $99.880 for CNMs.

All advanced-nursing practitioners can expect their job opportunities to rise by 2026 by 31%.

The expected growth rate is above average, due to a shortage of physicians and differences in healthcare legal regulations.

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