Once certified, there's no shortage of work. Midwives attend more than 300,000 births in the U.S each year, in hospitals, clinics and homes. Only one percent of all deliveries take place outside a hospital setting. On average, in-home births in America are growing by three percent per year.
Dr. Mavis Schorn is trying to change that. She directs the Nurse-Midwife training program at Tennessee's Vanderbilt University.
"Midwifery was almost gone from this country before the 1960s," she says. "So it's really built significantly since then."
Schorn says many Americans still view birth as a thing to be feared, seeing delivery as more of a medical complication than a natural process. She says that's why many mothers-to-be might feel more comfortable with the fetal monitors and other medical resources available in a hospital setting.