Stuff you need to know:
- Midwives preside at about 75 percent of the world's childbirths, but they're used far less in the United States. Still, their numbers are growing in the U.S. -- in 2006, they attended 7.4 percent of all births, which represents a huge increase from the year before. This growth can be attributed to the rising interest in natural childbirth in this country.
- Women who use midwives have a lower risk of requiring a cesarean section.
- Midwives are a good option for women who have low-risk pregnancies. A high-risk pregnancy might involve a woman over the age of 35, a woman who had previously experienced a difficult birth, a woman who has hypertension or gestational diabetes or the presence of twins or triplets.
- There are several types of midwives with varying levels of training. Certified nurse-midwives are registered nurses with a bachelor's degree and specialized training; certified midwives aren't nurses, but they hold a bachelor's degree and receive specialized training; direct-entry midwives may not have a degree, and they commonly train through apprenticeship.
- Midwives remain controversial for their role in home births, which several major medical institutions claim are unsafe.
Now, test your knowledge with these quizzes!
Check out these image galleries!
For further reading, see these articles!