Nurse-midwifery. The beneficial alternative.

M. Gabay, S. M. Wolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The number of nurse-midwife-attended births in U.S. hospitals has jumped ten-fold in the last 20 years, rising from just 19,686 in 1975 to 196,977 in 1994. Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) focus on childbirth as a normal event, emphasizing the educational and psychosocial aspects of care and the judicious use of technological interventions. CNM care appears particularly well suited to help solve two difficult problems in U.S. obstetric care--our country's slow progress in improving the health status of newborns and the excessive use of medical interventions during childbirth. Despite the fact that CNM care has been found to be safe and cost-effective, only a small fraction of those pregnant women who could benefit from CNM care use midwifery services. Lack of consumer awareness is part of the problem, but barriers also exist to accessing CNM services. Sixty-four percent of CNM practices responding to a survey reported practice restrictions, most commonly due to state laws, hospital policies, and inappropriately restrictive physician back-up. One state, Florida, is aggressively promoting the use of CNM care as the standard of practice for healthy pregnant women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-394
Number of pages9
JournalPublic health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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