Get access

Every Woman Needs a Midwife, and Some Women Need a Doctor Too


  • Jane Sandall PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), RM, RN, HV

    Professor, Corresponding author
    • Social Science and Women's Health, Research Division of Women's Health, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author

Address correspondence to Jane Sandall, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), RM, RN, HV Social Science and Women's Health, Women's Health Academic Centre, King's Health Partners, 10th Floor, North Wing, St. Thomas' Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH, UK.


Global recognition is increasing of the contribution of midwifery services to optimal outcomes for women and babies, and evidence around how to organize services and the roles of maternity providers. However, a sociological analysis can provide some insight into why the role of midwives varies so widely in different countries. Evidence is necessary, but more important is the role of the state in legalizing and financially supporting midwifery practice, how professional boundaries are negotiated in the maternity care domain, and consumer mobilization in support of midwifery and around maternity issues. (BIRTH 39:4 December 2012)