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midwifery (mĭdˈwīˌfərē), art of assisting at childbirth. The term midwife for centuries referred to a woman who was an overseer during the process of delivery. In ancient Greece and Rome, these women had some formal training. As the medical arts declined during medieval times, however, the skills a midwife possessed were gained solely from experience, and the lore was passed on through generations. With the upsurge of medical science about the 16th cent., the delivery of babies was accepted into the province of physicians, and as formal training and licensing of medical practitioners became more prevalent, these requirements extended also to women still engaged in midwifery. At this time professional schools of midwifery were established in Europe. Midwifery was only recognized as an important branch of medicine, however, when the practice of obstetrics was established. In the United States, due to rising medical costs and a burgeoning interest in natural childbirth and more personalized care, there has been a resurgence of interest in midwifery since the early 1970s.

Contemporary midwives attend births in hospitals and birthing centers as well as at home. Most midwives are registered nurses who have completed additional training in accredited institutions. Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) can practice in all 50 states. Many are trained to deal with other gynecological issues, such as birth control and menopausal problems. Lay-midwives usually train by apprenticeship and are regulated by local statutes that limit what services they may perform.


See J. Litoff, The American Midwife Debate (1986).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Arusa Lakhani, President of Midwifery Association of Pakistan, said the book would be of great help to tutors involved in teaching of midwifery and its students.
Heather Bower, Lead Midwife for Education at the university, said: 'The introduction of this exciting new programme will offer an alternative route to obtaining an undergraduate degree in midwifery for people already working for an NHS trust.
A wrongful death lawsuit follows and the graduate midwifery nursing student along with other members of the healthcare team are named defendants.
"I have been fortunate to have been supported in my various midwifery roles by some wonderful teams and by a trust which afforded opportunity and encouraged the work that I have tried to do.
They will join nearly 11,000 existing nursing and midwifery staff that currently provide care to our patients within HMC hospitals as well as through our residential and home care services."
The Principal bemoaned challenges in the area of infrastructure and resources, and mentioned some of them as inadequate hostel accommodation for male and female students, unavailability of staff bungalows, inadequate equipment for skills laboratory demonstrations, and inadequate midwifery tutors.
She assured the participants that there was a need to strengthen Midwifery Schools.
This he stated while addressing 11th Midwifery Conference 2019 as chief guest, organised by Sindh Institute of Reproductive Medicine (SIRM).
A key MERAS claim was that new midwife graduates should start on the DHB MECA registered nurse step 2 ($56,788), not step 1 ($52,460), as the midwifery degree was a year longer than the nursing degree.
MCSP HRH assigned Midwifery Mentor also served as Masters of Ceremony and kept the program lively; making sure that everyone felt a part of the graduation exercise.
The Gombe State Commissioner for Health, Dr Kennedy Ishaya, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Tuesday that the training was a prerequisite to becoming a registered member of the National Council of Nurses and Midwifery.