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Bibliography about the Profession of Midwifery

From: (Pat Sonnenstuhl),,,misc.answers,sci.answers,news.answer
Subject: Midwifery: Bibliography
Summary: The following document lists books and resources
        about the profession of midwifery.

Archive-name: medicine/midwifery/bibliography
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Version: 0.01
Last-Modified: 1995/10/14


There are many books and resources about the history and profession of midwifery. The following are ones you might find of interest:

Arditti, Rita. Women as Objects: Science and Sexual Politics Science for the People, Sept. 1974.

Arms, Suzanne. Immaculate Deception 1975. One of the classics that helped change the practices of birthing in the USA.

Arms, Suzanne. Immaculate Deception II--A Fresh Look at Childbirth 1994. Discusses what the problems are with childbirth today and discusses the wisdom of the natural process of birth.

Armstrong, Penny, and Cheryl Feldman. A Midwife's Story . 1986. A nurse-midwife learns much about birth and life in her work with the Amish in Pennsylvania.

Boston Women's Health Book Collective. The New Our Bodies, Ourselves. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992. Conrad, Peter and Kern, Rochelle, eds. The Sociology of Health and Illness: Critical Perspectives. 2nd Ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986.

Courter, Gay. The Midwife . Houghton Mifflin Co. 1981. A novel about the roots of midwifery from Prussia to the United States.

Courter, Gay. The Midwife's Advice . Penguin. 1992. Paperback 1994. A sequel to The Midwife. A novel about the relationships of women, birthing and family planning in the United States.

Davis, Elizabeth. Heart and Hands. 2nd. Edition . Celestial Arts, 1987. A Midwife's guide to pregnancy, childbirth and the art and science of midwifery.

Davis-Floyd, Robbie. Birth as an American Rite of Passage . 1992. A feminist analysis of childbirth rites in American culture, and offers insightful interviews with women and health care providers.

Donnison, Jean. Midwives and Medical Men: A History of Inter-Professional Rivalries and Women's Rights Schocken books, 1977.

Edwards, Margot and Waldorf , Mary. Reclaiming Birth: History and Heroines of American Childbirth Reform The Crossing Press, 1984

Ehrenreich, Barbara and English, Derdre. Witches, Midwives and Nurses: A History of Women Healers The Feminist Press, 1973.

Enkin, Murray, Keirse, Marc J.N.C., Renfrew, Mary and Neilson, James. 2nd Edition. .A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth Oxford University Press, 1995. This book is about the documented effects of care given and received during pregnancy and childbirth.

Gaskin, Ina May. Spiritual Midwifery The Farm 1978. A classic. Contains many birth stories as well as more technical information for parents and midwives. Revised in 1980 and 1990.

Goer, Henci. Bergen and Gervey, . Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities 1995. Discusses issues facing expectant parents and supports issues with research abstracts.

Gordon, Linda. Woman's Body, Woman's Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America. New York: Grossman, 1977.

Graham, Harvey. Eternal Eve, the History of Gynaecology and Obstetrics Doubleday & Company, 1951.

Hartley, Carla. Helping Hands: The Apprentice Workbook. Midwifery and apprenticing are outlined and discussed from several viewpoints. This book may change the reader's ideas about the relationship of midwifery to goal setting, time management, thinking, learning and studying.

Jacobs, Sandra and the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Having Your Baby with a Nurse-Midwife : Everything You Need to Know to Make an Informed Decision . 1993. Explains for expectant parents and professionals what a nurse midwife is.

Janssen, Holt, Patricia A, and Myers, Susan J License "Midwife-Attended, Out-of-Hospital Births in Washington State: Are They Safe? " Birth 1994: 21(3):141-148.

Kitzinger, Sheila. Homebirth. 1991. A commonsense guide to the alternatives to giving birth in the hospital. Discusses how to plan a birth in a setting where the laboring woman is in control. Evaluates the risks of homebirth and puts them into perspective.

Kitzinger, Sheila. The Midwife Challenge Pandora, 1991. Describes midwifery worldwide from a historical perspective.

Kitzinger, Shiela. The Experience of Childbirth. 3rd Edition . Penguin Books. 1972. Another classic about midwifery and childbirth.

Hubbard, Ruth, Mary Sue Henifin and Barbara Fried (eds.), Women Looking at Biology Looking at Women. Boston: G.K. Hall and Co., 1979. Read especially pp 163-84 by Marilyn Grossman and Pauline Bart "Taking men out of menopause."

Leep, Nicky, and Hunter, Billie. The Midwife's Tale . The untold story of birth in the 1920's , 1930's and 1940's in Britain. Challenges assumptions about home birth and the midwifery profession. Relates the attitudes and experiences of our mothers, grand-mothers and great-grandmothers in the areas of sex, contraception, abortion, work and motherhood.

Lefeber-Mans, Yvonne H. F. Midwives Without Training: Practices, and beliefs of traditional birth attendants in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Van Gorcum & Comp. BV (PO Box 43, 9400 AA Assen, the Netherlands. 1994. Intended for anyone interested in the practices and beliefs of the traditional midwives, expecially birth attendants, obstetricians and medical anthropologists.

Midwife Mailing List: To subscribe to the Internet Midwife Mailing List: Send the message to . To contribute to the list, the internet address is:

Midwifery Today. Getting an Education: Paths to Becoming a Midwife 1995 (Midwifery Today, PO Box 2672-350, Eugene, OR, 97402. USA. * (541) 344-7438* (800) 743-0974* Fax: (541) 344- 1422* E-mail: Explores the many ways to becoming a midwife, and working with the birthing community. Presents personal stories of midwives and how they accomplished their goals of becoming a midwife.

Midwifery Today International Exchange Network: Directory 1995 (Midwifery Today, PO Box 2672-350, Eugene OR, 97402 USA* (541)344-7438*(800) 743-0974* Fax (541)344- 1422* E-mail: Also available is the Publication International Midwife. The main non-internet link to international midwifery.

Midwifery Today World Wide Web Page:: has links to various articles and other information provided by Midwifery Today. The related What's New is the place to check first for updated and new versions of the FAQ, new birthing related resources and an on-line Directory of e-mail addresses of midwives worldwide. (Managed by Donna Dolezal Zelzer).

Mitford, Jessica. The American Way of Birth The Penguin Group, 1993. Explores the conventional and alternative methods of giving birth and the cost of having a child.

Odent, Michel. Birth Reborn . Pantheon Books. New York, 1984 and 1990. A discussion of how childbirth can be and what women want it to be--and how mothers and babies both benefit. Physician Odent describes the clinic in Pithiviers and the success with childbirth by letting women be free to labor as they wish.

Population Reference Bureau, Inc. 1994: World Population Data Sheet: Demographic Data and Estimates for the Countries and Regions of the World. (Available from Population Reference Bureau, Inc., 1875 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC 20009-5728 < (202) 438-1100. >) Toll free # to become a PRB member is 1-800-877-9881 Monday through Friday, 8:30am-4:30am EST.

Posner, Judith. It's all in your head: feminist and medical models of menopause (strange bedfellows). Sex Roles. 5:170- 190.

Rothman, Barbara Katz. In Labor: Women and Power in the Birthplace 1991. Presents a systematic feminist analysis of not only how childbirth is managed in America but why it is managed the way it is.

Smith-Rosenberg, Carroll. The Hysterical Women: Sex Roles in Nineteenth Century America. Social Research. 39. Winter 1972: 652-78.

Steiger, Carolyn. Becoming a Midwife Hoogan House Publishing, 1987. Presents a model for apprenticeship including clear definitions of the teacher-student relationship, description of responsibilities and an outline of a three phase program for becoming a midwife.

Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. A Midwife's Tale . Vintage Books, New York, 1990. The life of Martha Ballard, based on her diary, 1785-1812. Depicts the family, medical. social, economic, and religious life of a midwife in pre-industrial New England.

Varney, Helen. Nurse Midwifery . 2nd Edition. Blackwell Scientific Publications. 1987. A comprehensive text for midwifery students. Extremely well organized, stressing the concept of understanding and recognizing the normal while screening for the abnormal.

Weaver, Pam and Evans, Sharon K. Practical Skills Guide. Morningstar Publications. 1994. A textbook designed to test the skills of student midwives, either direct-entry or student nurse-midwives. Currently being used as a required text in the NARM national certification process. Covers over 100 skills in a step--by-step procedure format. Includes forms for documentation of experience. [Please see the end of this FAQ for Sharon Evan's email address]

Wertz, Richard W and Dorothy C. Lying In: A History of Childbirth in America Schocken Books, 1977.

WHO, FIGO, ICM "DEFINITION OF THE MIDWIFE" as stated in the recently released document Reproductive Health Care: Midwifery--its role in Safe Motherhood and Beyond. World Health Organization, 1992.

Some excellent resources for locating the above books and others (in addition to your local library) are:

141 Commercial Sr., NE
Salem, OR, 97301, USA
(541) 371-4445

2. Cochrane Database: Information about the Cochrane Database can be obtained from the Midwifery Today WWW Page. The official Web address is:
The American College of Physicians is the US distributor for the Cochran Database on Pregnancy and Childbirth (there are also Canadian and UK distributors). The US phone is 1-800-523-1546, ext 2600 or 1-215-351-2600 9am-5pm ET FAX 1-215-351-2799 24 hours/day. Or mail:
Cochran Collaboration Reviews
American College of Physicians
PO Box 7777
Philadelphia PA 19175--980
Refer to priority code V0595
Make sure to refer to Pregnancy and Childbirth Database.

Single user is $175 ($125 if American College of Physicians member). Available for windows, Mac, CD-ROM, DOS. Multi- user rates are considerably more, depending on how many users (i.e. $1000 for 21+ users)

3. ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association):
ICEA Bookcenter
PO Box 20048
Minneapolis, MN, 55420, USA.
(1-800-624-4934 & Fax: 1-612-854-8772).

4. MIDIRS : THE resource for midwifery research. They have an extensive library and will send by fax or snail mail any article of listing of references of any subject you request information about. Anyone can use their resources but if you are a member/subscriber you will save when you do request information. They also sell books and videos:
9, Elmdale Road
Briston BS8, 1SL.
England, U.K.
Phone: 0272 251791
Fax: 0272 251792

This BIBLIOGRAPHY was prepared by Pat Sonnenstuhl, ARNP, CNM with the supportive assistance of the following contributors. Suggestions for books and articles you would like to add are always welcome. Abstracts or reviews of new books can be submitted to

  • Ms. Sabrina Cuddy < > :
    Childbirth educator, Nursing Mother's Council volunteer, USA
  • Ms. Elizabeth Couch < > : DEM, USA.
  • Ms. Marjorie A. Dacko < > :
    DEM, birthcenter practice, USA
  • Ms. Sharon K. Evans <>:
    writer and licensed DEM, birth center practice.
    Co-chair for the NARM Qualified Evalator Committee
  • Ms. Cheri Van Hoover < > :
    CNM, hospital practice, USA.
  • Mr. Patrick Hublou < > : Midwife, Flanders, Belgium
  • Ms. Deirdre E.E.A. Joukas < > :
    Consumers-viewpoint, The Netherlands
  • Ms. Debbie Pulley < > :
    MANA Legislative Chair CPM, homebirth practice, USA

Additional documents related to the profession of midwifery that can be located within include:

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This Web version was last updated May 14, 1996 by Donna Dolezal Zelzer,