The history of midwifery and obstetrics are intertwined, overlapping, and contains conflict.  Understanding current inter-professional practice requires some understanding of professional history.  The current climate of women’s healthcare is moving toward interdisciplinary practice.  The professions of midwifery and obstetrics should be viewed as complementing rather than competing with one another.  Educating midwives and physicians together enhances understanding of collaborative practice and improves appreciation of the complementary nature of the two professions:  midwifery contributing expertise in physiologic birth, obstetricians providing expertise in the management of pathology. 


  • Examine the historic development of midwifery and obstetrics
  • Understand the genesis of the natural childbirth movement
  • Describe the culture of birth in the US
  • Discuss the current state of birth in the US
  • Recognize current trends in collaboration between physicians and midwives


Teachers Guide

Guided Questions