What is a Midwife?

Midwives are members of an ancient profession that has evolved into modern times. Throughout history in all cultures, midwives have been the primary attendants for women as they labor and give birth. Even today, from a global perspective, more babies are born into the hands of midwives than any other care provider.

Currently, midwifery in America is undergoing a renaissance. With a slow but steady growth in the numbers of midwife practitioners and with a re-expansion of the role of the midwife into primary women’s health care as well as pregnancy and birth care, midwives are reclaiming their time honored position at the side of the women they serve as guardians of normal birth and promoters of healthy life choices.

The definition of a midwife according to the International Confederation of Midwives is:

The Midwife is recognized as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to provide care for the newborn and the infant. This care includes preventative measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in mother and child, the accessing of medical care or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures.

The Midwife has an important task in health counseling and education, not only for the woman, but also within the family and the community. This work should involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood and may extend to women’s health, sexual or reproductive health and child care.

A midwife may practice in any setting including the home, community, hospitals, clinics or health units.


To read about the  practice of midwives certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board click here.


If you are interested in finding out more information about the program

Call us at 215-951-2943 or e-mail us at InstituteOfMidwifery@philau.edu