Students and aspiring midwives have contacted us with many questions about the legalities of studying midwifery in California. This page provides answers to some common questions.
The sections of the statute that cover these topics are found in the Business and Professions Code, section 2514, and sub-sections (a), and (b) and section 2515. You may view them at this hyperlink:
Quotes in the following two paragraphs are directly from the statute, and the full text of these sections follows at the bottom of this page.
In California, a student must be ‘enrolled or participating in a midwifery education program or [be] enrolled in a program of supervised clinical training.’ And the client must be “informed of the student’s status.”
If a student has met these criteria, s/he may handle tasks while being supervised by “a licensed midwife, who holds a clear and unrestricted license in this state, who is present on the premises at all times client services are provided, and who is practicing pursuant to Section 2507, or a physician and surgeon.” Thus the licensed midwife is legally required to be physically present as a supervisor. Phone conversations, emails, text messages, or any other communications do not constitute supervision if the licensed midwife is not on the premises during all times when client services are provided, such as appointments, births, and home visits.
Many students have requested a specific list of tasks that might be considered midwifery or medical tasks that require supervision with the physical presence of a midwife. Unfortunately it is impossible to create an exhaustive list of such tasks, and we do not wish to put any student at legal risk due to a list that either leaves off a task that does in fact require supervision, or includes a task that does not actually require supervision. Students and preceptors can use the statute directly to determine that a licensed midwife must be on the premises and supervising the student at all times client services are provided.
- Practice as an independent midwife without a license
- Identify themselves as a midwife without a license
- Advertise as an independent or licensed midwife during the period after the student’s schooling is completed, but before the student has actually been issued a midwifery license by the Medical Board of California
- If a student in California gets a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) certification, there may be a period of time before s/he is legally licensed as an LM by the licensing department of the Medical Board of California. This may be weeks or months given the back log of paper work. Until s/he is issued a Licensed Midwife number, s/he is not able to practice legally. An LM license number is required to practice legally, even if a person is a CPM.
These are not policies of the California Association of Midwives. These are the legal policies of the state of California. This is not an endorsement by the California Association of Midwives for these regulations, only a reporting of current legal status.
Here is the full text of Business and Professions Code, section 2514, sub-sections (a), and (b):
“2514. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent a bona
fide student who is enrolled or participating in a midwifery
education program or who is enrolled in a program of supervised
clinical training from engaging in the practice of midwifery in this
state, as part of his or her course of study, if both of the
following conditions are met:
(a) The student is under the supervision of a licensed midwife,
who holds a clear and unrestricted license in this state, who is
present on the premises at all times client services are provided,
and who is practicing pursuant to Section 2507, or a physician and
(b) The client is informed of the student's status.”