The midwifery and medical models for the care of pregnant women are based on particular perspectives on pregnancy and birth. The approaches resulting from these perspectives are complementary and, as a result of midwives and physicians working together, there has been significant merging of the models. Instead of two mutually exclusive ways of managing birth, there is wide variation. Nevertheless, there are important differences between the two models, including differences in philosophy and focus, in the relationship between the care provider and the pregnant woman, in the main focus of prenatal care, in use of obstetric interventions and other aspects of care during labor, and in the goals and objectives of care. The midwifery model has advantages for many women because it avoids unnecessary interventions during labor, thus helping the process remain normal, and because it addresses needs that are often not adequately met by the medical management model. J Nurse Midwifery 1999;44:370–4 © 1999 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.