Midwifery is a health care profession in which providers offer care to childbearing women during pregnancy, labour and birth, and during the postpartum period. They also help care for the newborn and assist the mother with breastfeeding. A practitioner of midwifery is known as a midwife, a term used in reference to both women and men, although the majority of midwives are female. In addition to providing care to women during pregnancy and birth, many midwives also provide primary care to women, well-woman care related to reproductive health, annual gynecological exams, family planning, and menopausal care. In the term midwife, the morpheme -wife is pronounced as expected. Midwives are specialists in low-risk pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum, although they are trained to recognize and deal with deviations from the norm as well as certain high risk situations. Obstetricians, in contrast, are specialists in illness related to childbearing and in surgery.
Contributions by Gillyweed, Maustrauser, and THB.