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ABSTRACT

This paper provides information regarding Arizona's 27 licensed lay midwives. The midwives' backgrounds vary widely, from countercultural high school dropouts with no medical training to extremely conservative women with graduate degrees in nursing. Two served as midwife-in-charge at more than 100 births during 1981, while most were the primary caregivers for less than 50 women each.

While 20 have seriously considered becoming nurse-midwives, only five intend to do so. Competition makes acceptance into a nurse-midwifery program unlikely, and geographic distance would make attendance difficult or impossible. In addition, the midwives are committed to natural home birth as a normal process. Hence, some do not desire training in nursing, medically interventive techniques, or hospital birthing procedures. Finally, the midwives fear their current independence from medical hierarchies would decrease if they became nurse-midwives.