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ABSTRACT

Most people who are ignorant or misinformed about midwifery are also misinformed about birth, the needs of pregnant women, and problems related to the care provided to most pregnant women in this country. An understanding of these issues is the conceptual substrate that makes it possible to understand and value midwifery. Although midwives need to educate people about midwives and midwifery, it is also necessary for them to educate people about the nature of childbirth, the needs of pregnant women in general, and appropriate (and inappropriate) maternity care. Midwives are experts in these subjects, but they have to go beyond talking about midwifery—beyond talking about themselves. To maximize their effectiveness, midwives should work in partnership with individuals and organizations that support the midwifery model of care—regardless of the professional background of the person who practices this model. Midwives can advance public education by collaborating with organizations, such as the Maternity Center Association (MCA), which supports family-centered maternity care, based on the midwifery model. MCA's current public education activities are described and two new MCA brochures are presented. Information that supports midwifery care may be particularly effective when it is presented by an organization with broader objectives.