Midwives are professionals trained in taking care of a woman during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Midwives are usually women, and typically operate outside of traditional hospital settings. Pregnant women who use midwives want extra support to help them deliver the baby naturally and in a calm environment without medical intervention if possible. Such experiences typically happen in home situations, where the woman labors and delivers her baby at home without the aid of drugs or epidurals. Expecting women who choose not to see a traditional obstetrician or OB/GYN during their pregnancy, and have uncomplicated pregnancies, often hire midwives or doulas to guide them through the entire pregnancy, labor, delivery, birth and immediate newborn care. Midwives can perform cesarean sections or episiotomies if needed, but the rate is much lower than with traditional doctors in hospitals. Women can opt for a home birth, as long as there is no expected complication, and mother and baby are not considered high risk, such as with twins or other multiple births. Midwives will usually not induce labor, but will let it take its natural course. Midwives can help the expecting mother with Lamaze classes during pregnancy, provide the pregnant mother with prenatal care, offer emotional support throughout the pregnancy and labor, give advice on the most comfortable positions during natural vaginal labor, and provide postpartum and newborn support, especially if the infant needs NICU care. You can find a midwife in your area by looking in the phone book or by checking online directory listings. You can also ask your doctor for recommendations on a midwife. New parents can also give you advice.