Midwifery refers to a model of care that specializes in “monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle; providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support; minimizing technological interventions; identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention.” (according to a collaborative statement by Midwives Alliance of North America, the North American Registry of Midwives, the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council and Citizens for Midwifery.)

The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) attributes many benefits to midwifery care, including fewer cesareans, reduced need for pain medications, fewer inductions, increased breastfeeding success, and increased birth experience satisfaction.

There are different training pathways available for those pursuing careers as midwives, resulting in different credentials. Different midwives may attend births at home, at birth centers, and/or at hospitals.