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  • Judith P. Rooks CNM, MPH, MS, FACNM

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • 1Judith P. Rooks is a midwife, epidemiologist, consultant, and writer focusing on maternal and child health, family planning, and midwifery—and author of Midwifery and Childbirth in America, published by Temple University Press in 1997. She is an Associate of the Pacific Institute for Women's Health, which is based in Los Angeles, and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, in Tampa. Ms. Rooks was a member of the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) Center for the Health Professions Taskforce on Midwifery.

2Address correspondence to Judith P. Rooks, CNM, MPH, MS, FACNM, 2706 S. W. English Court, Portland, OR 97201.


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.