• keywords: birth certificates;
  • nurse-midwives;
  • midwives;
  • vital statistics;
  • delivery attendant;
  • birth attendant


The number of midwife-attended births is increasing as reported on birth certificates in the United States. However, there is some evidence that births attended by certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) may not be accurately recorded. In this exploratory study, data on birth attendants for those clients giving birth during the study period were compared by using four sources: the client's hospital chart, the CNM birth log, hospital birth certificate records, and state vital statistics records. Researchers sought to determine the accuracy of birth attendant data as reflected in these four sources and whether other providers were listed as the birth attendant for actual CNM-attended births. During the study period, the CNM birth log showed that CNMs attended 97 vaginal births, whereas the client hospital charts for these same births noted 92 births as attended by CNMs (the other five were operative vaginal births). Hospital birth certificate and state vital statistics data during the study time period credited 88 and 82 of the client's births, respectively, to the CNMs. Exploration of the inaccurately reported birth attendant data, implications for practice, and recommendations for accurately recording birth certificate data are discussed.