What is a Midwife

A Midwife Is...  

A trained professional who offers expert care, education, counseling and support to a woman and her newborn during the childbearing years. The midwife works with each woman and her family to identify their unique physical, social and emotional needs.  Midwives know how to watch for and identify potential or actual complications, and they can provide emergency treatment until additional assistance is available.

What Do Midwives Do?  

Midwives offer:

Well-woman care
Choice of birth place
Education and counseling
Labor support, birth and postpartum care
Support for bonding
Examination and evaluation of newborn
Breastfeeding support
Counseling in pregnancy and early parenting
Prenatal care that promotes informed decision-making

Midwives Provide Personalized Care     

Women want more than technological care during pregnancy and birth. Midwives Encourage participation by family members and provide continuous support during labor and birth. Midwives trust the birth process and affirm each individual woman's ability to give birth.

Midwives Encourage Informed Choices

Midwives encourage women and their families to take an active part in their own health care. Pregnancy is an ideal time to educate mothers about nutrition, healthful birth practices, breastfeeding and infant care.

Midwifery Offers Choice of Birth Places

Midwives practice in homes, birth centers and hospitals. Midwives support the right of parents to choose the birthplace that best suits their needs.
Midwifery Care Division of Expertise
Midwives are experts on normal birth; obstetricians are experts on difficult or surgical births. The division of responsibility between the two strong and respected professions creates the best conditions for optimal birth care.
Midwifery Care Makes a Difference

Midwives worldwide have an excellent record of safety with numerous studies associating midwifery care with excellent outcomes. In five nations with the world's lowest infant mortality and lowest rates of technological intervention, midwives attend 70 percent of all births without a physician in the birth room.

For more information contact:

Midwives' Alliance of North America, Newton, KS, http://www.mana.org, (316)283-4543
North American Registry of Midwives, Nashville TN, (615)964-3996
Midwifery Education & Accreditation Council, Flagstaff, AZ, (520)214-0997
American College of Nurse-Midwives, Washington, DC, (202)728-9860