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ABSTRACT

This historical review of the literature highlights the struggles that American nurse-midwifery has undergone in defining itself to the medical profession. Because nurse-midwifery came into existence in this country close on the heels of the demise of traditional midwifery, it had many prejudices to overcome. For many years, nurse-midwifery allied itself with nursing to gain power and acceptance from physicians. Now, however, there is a move toward independence as nurse-midwives are more visible and the effectiveness and safety of their practice have been established.