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Our Philosophy of Care

We, the midwives of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, affirm the power and strength of women and the importance of their health in the well-being of families, communities and nations. We believe in the basic human rights of all persons, recognizing that women often incur an undue burden of risk when these rights are violated.

We believe every person has a right to:

  • Equitable, ethical, accessible quality health care that promotes healing and health
  • Health care that respects human dignity, individuality and diversity among groups
  • Complete and accurate information to make informed health care decisions
  • Self-determination and active participation in health care decisions
  • Involvement of a woman's designated family members, to the extent desired, in all health care experiences

We believe the best model of health care for a woman and her family:

  • Promotes a continuous and compassionate partnership
  • Acknowledges a person's life experiences and knowledge
  • Includes individualized methods of care and healing guided by the best evidence available
  • Involves therapeutic use of human presence and skillful communication

We honor the normalcy of women's lifecycle events. We believe in:

  • Watchful waiting and non-intervention in normal processes
  • Appropriate use of interventions and technology for current or potential health problems
  • Consultation, collaboration and referral with other members of the health care team as needed to provide optimal health care

We affirm that midwifery care incorporates these qualities and that women's health care needs are well-served through midwifery care.

Finally, we value formal education, lifelong individual learning, and the development and application of research to guide ethical and competent midwifery practice. These beliefs and values provide the foundation for commitment to individual and collective leadership at the community, state, national and international level to improve the health of women and their families worldwide.

Hallmarks of Midwifery

The art and science of midwifery are characterized by the following hallmarks:

A. Recognition of menarche, pregnancy, birth, and menopause as normal physiologic and developmental processes
B. Advocacy of non-intervention in normal processes in the absence of complications
C. Incorporation of scientific evidence into clinical practice
D. Promotion of woman- and family-centered care E. Empowerment of women as partners in health care
F. Facilitation of healthy family and interpersonal relationships
G. Promotion of continuity of care H. Health promotion, disease prevention, and health education
I. Promotion of a public health care perspective
J. Care to vulnerable populations
K. Advocacy for informed choice, shared decision making, and the right to self-determination
L. Integration of cultural humility
M. Incorporation of evidence-based complementary and alternative therapies in education and practice
N. Skillful communication, guidance, and counseling
O. Therapeutic value of human presence
P. Collaboration with other members of the interprofessional health care team


Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice (2012), Retrieved from
. (2019).

American College of Nurse-Midwives
8403 Colesville Rd. Ste. 1550 Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 240.485.1800 Fax: 240.485.1818
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