Midwifery is a practice that provides a broad range of reproductive, sexual, and primary care services. While historically the term midwife has referred to a woman who assisted during pregnancies and childbirth, midwives today offer gynecological, preconception, prenatal, and postpartum care, as well as care for newborn infants. In 2012, the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) acknowledged midwives can also provide services for gender non-conforming and transgender individuals. Midwives may undergo medical training and licensing to become certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) or certified midwives. In 2019, about 1 in 10 of US births were attended by a CNM or certified midwife. Midwives may provide care in a hospital, private birth center, or in-home setting. Frequent midwifery treatments and services include, but are not limited to:
While certified nurse midwives may attend deliveries within a hospital team and setting, other midwives typically operate apart from doctors. If a pregnant individual expects delivery complications, it is advised they receive treatment from a doctor, or only visit a midwife as supplementary care to clinical services. Midwives may collaborate with obstetricians, gynecologists, neonatal specialists and nurses, perinatologists, physical therapists, nurses, and dietitians.