A national survey of 800 certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) in active clinical practice was conducted from April through June 1994. The purpose of the survey was to study the extent to which eight operationally defined positions were used by CNM-attended women during the second stage of labor and factors that affected their use. This, the first of a two-part article, describes the positions used as well as the CNMs'preferences for the eight second-stage positions. The most frequently used second-stage position was sitting; the lithotomy position was rarely used by the CNMs. The survey findings reflect the preferences of birthing women.