What is Midwifery?

Midwives are trained health professionals who provide primary care for women throughout the lifespan. Historically, midwives have served women during the childbearing year, providing compassionate, holistic care throughout pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. Midwives were seen as the community healers, the ones to turn to for physical and emotional support.


Photograph: Amy Helene Johansson

Today midwives continue the tradition of being with woman in all parts of the world. Midwives are known and respected for their hands-on care and their trust in women as the experts of their own health. Midwifery care is safe and effective, often improving health outcomes for mothers and babies. Beyond birth, midwives are also able to provide comprehensive family planning care as well as specialized support around menopause.

Midwives also recognize the unique health care needs of the LGBTQ community and in particular, the holistic health needs of the transgender community.

In the United States, midwives practice both in the hospital as well as outside the hospital, either at home or in birth centers. They may be trained as nurse-midwives, or as direct-entry midwives. In 2009, midwives caught 8% of the babies born in the U.S. that year. This number is growing rapidly in many states around the country as more people learn about the benefits of midwifery care.

Learn More About Midwifery

American College of Nurse-Midwives

Midwives Alliance of North America

Our Moment of Truth: A New Understanding of Midwifery Care

The North American Registry of Midwives

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