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, promotion, and advocacy of menarche, pregnancy, birth, and menopause as normal physiologic and developmental processes
B. Advocacy of non-intervention in physiologic processes in the absence of complications
C. Incorporation of evidence-based care into clinical practice
D. Promotion of person-centered care for all, which respects and is inclusive of diverse histories, backgrounds, and identities
E. Empowerment of women and persons seeking midwifery care as partners in health care
F. Facilitation of healthy family and interpersonal relationships
G. Promotion of continuity of care
H. Utilization of health promotion, disease prevention, and health education
I. Application of a public health perspective
J. Utilizing an understanding of social determinants of health to provide high-quality care to all persons including those from underserved communities
K. Advocating for informed choice, shared decision making, and the right to selfdetermination
L. Integration of cultural safety into all care encounters
M. Incorporation of evidence-based integrative therapies
N. Skillful communication, guidance, and counseling
O. Acknowledgment of the therapeutic value of human presence
P. Ability to collaborate with and refer to other members of the interprofessional health care team
Q. Ability to provide safe and effective care across settings including home, birth center, hospital, or any other maternity care service


Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice (2020), Retrieved from https://www.midwife.org/acnm/files/acnmlibrarydata/uploadfilename/

American College of Nurse-Midwives
8403 Colesville Rd. Ste. 1230 Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 240.485.1800 Fax: 240.485.1818
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