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Special Issues in Nurse-Midwifery: A Look at the Past and Future


  • Niles Newton PhD

    Professor, Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Niles Newton, PhD, received her BA from Bryn Mawr College in 1945 and her PhD from Columbia University in 1952. She is a research psychologist concentrating on the psychology of birth and breastfeeding. She is Professor of Behavioral Sciences in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Medical School. She teaches graduate and medical students, and supervises doctoral dissertations in the area of childbearing. She is author of Maternal Emotions and Family Book of Child Care, and author or co-author of two other monographs, 16 book chapters, and over 60 scientific papers on various aspects of childbearing and parenting. She is on the editorial boards of Birth and Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, and on the professional review board of Breast Feeding Abstracts. She served as Executive Secretary and then Vice President of the International Society of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Room 12, 138 Ward Building, Northwestern University Medical School, 303 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.


The most important members of our population are childbearing women and their care providers. Nurse-midwives are specialists in normal birth and their outcome statistics have been superb in those settings where they are allowed to adopt a noninterventive style of labor support. Nurse-midwives' outstanding service to women and newborns is well-documented and needs more recognition.

This paper cites some of the documented achievements of nurse-midwifery and presents a fantasized look at the status of the profession in the year 2001. It is an adaptation of a luncheon address given at the National Colloquium on Nurse-Midwifery in America, which was held March 15, 1986 in Arlington, Virginia.