Midwife Law and Legal Definition

The practice of midwivery is regulated by state statutes, which vary by state, usually administered by the state's board of nursing. A nurse midwife is a registered nurse who by virtue of added knowledge and skill gained through an organized program of study and clinical experience recognized by the American College of Nurse-Midwives has extended the limits of her practice into the area of management of care of mothers and babies throughout the maternity cycle.

Statutes may require that in all cases in which the child is not delivered spontaneously within a reasonable time, the nurse midwife shall notify a qualified physician immediately and make no effort to deliver the child except under the authorization and supervision of such physician. Laws may also specify that all deliveries by widwives must be planned to take place in the hospital.

The following is an example of a state statute dealing with midwives:

"It shall be unlawful for any person other than a licensed professional nurse who has received a license from the State Board of Nursing and the Board of Medical Examiners to practice nurse midwifery in this state.