Since 1925 when nurse-midwifery emerged as a new health profession in the United States, and over the past 30 years under the auspices of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), national standards for education, certification, and practice have enabled nurse-midwives to provide the quality of care that is highly valued by policy-makers and consumers. This paper describes the education and practice of over 7,000 midwives who have received national certification through mechanisms developed by the ACNM, describes the strengths of the profession, and reviews the impact of managed care on the practice of midwifery. Also highlighted is ACNM's development of a partnership, with the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, to study the impact of changes in the health care environment on pregnant women and ACNM certified mid-wives. This partnership is presented as an example of how the ACNM has evolved into an organization that is well-positioned to preserve midwifery in a managed care environment. J Nurse Midwifery 1999;44:375–83 © 1999 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.