This book provides an introduction to the sociological study of midwifery. The readings have been selected to highlight the interplay between midwifery and medicine, reflecting the medicalisation of childbirth. It highlights the major themes in both a historical and a current context, as well as western and non-western societies. Two major themes underlie the organisation of this book: that the conception of midwifery must be broadened to encompass a sociological perspective; and that the ongoing trend toward the medicalisation of midwifery is crucial to an understanding of the historical, current, and future status of midwifery. By medicalisation of childbirth and midwifery is meant the increasing tendency for women to prefer a hospital delivery to a home delivery, the increasing trend toward the use of technology and clinical intervention in childbirth, and the determination of medical practitioners to confine the role played by midwives in pregnancy and childbirth, if any, to a purely subordinate one.