VICKI VAN WAGNER
The World Health Organization's Definition of a Midwife: She must be able to give the necessary supervision, care, and advice to women during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct de liveries on her own responsibility, and to care for the newborn and the infant. This care includes preventative measures, the detection of (abnormal conditions in mother and child, the procurement of medical assistance, and the execution of emergency measures in the absence of medical help.
She has an important task in counselling and education--not only for patients, but also within the family and community. The work should involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood and extends to certain areas of gynaecology, family planning and child care.
She may practice in hospitals, clinics, health units, domiciliary conditions or any other service.
-- Kitzinger 1988
Midwifery is now the art and science of caring for women during pregnancy and childbirth and caring for the new mother and baby during the first weeks of the newborn's life. Midwifery is also an ancient practice common to most cultures around the world. Most of the world's babies are born with a midwife assisting the mother throughout labor and birth, but the status of midwifery varies widely around the world. In Scandina-