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(mĭd`wī'fərē), 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).

References in periodicals archive ?
The Scottish Government remains committed to free tuition fees and protecting the non-means tested, non-repayable nursing and midwifery student bursary which we believe is essential to ensure a steady supply of trainees into the profession.
Nursing and midwifery leaders will meet to map out how to improve people's health throughout the region.
The Nursing and Midwifery Specialization and Professional Career Ladder Bylaw No (85) 2016 issued in reference to articles (4,6,13) of the JNC Law No (53) for 2006 was published on 30th of June 2016 in the Official Gazette.
Mwansa Nkowane (MN): My current position in the World Health Organization is Technical Officer, Nursing and Midwifery, Health Workforce Department.
Conclusion: The continuing midwifery care has more benefits than the standard maternity care in vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
Pakistan would be the first country in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO) to start working on the National Strategic Plan for Nursing and Midwifery development, following the recent publication of EMRO's Action Framework for strengthening nursing and midwifery in the region 2016-2025.
The school is hoping to achieve UK UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) University accreditation and to be the first midwifery programme in Wales to achieve it.
gt;UHW head of midwifery Suzanne Hardacre Compliments and concerns from service users are actively encouraged and shared with staff.
The annual day raises awareness and increases visibility of the value of midwifery services in providing maternity care services to women, newborns and their families.
There has been relatively little evaluation on the impact of a fully flexible midwifery undergraduate programme.
This revival developed into a public push for regulation by both midwives and midwifery consumers.