This paper deals with maternity care in the Czech Republic. It concentrates on midwives as significant providers of maternity and birth care. The main aim of this paper is to show how the culture of midwives shapes the care they provide. Building on the ethnographic research in two small maternity hospitals in the Czech Republic, I focus on three domains that are organized around three types of views: 1) the views of the participating midwives on their own role, work, and occupational identity; 2) the participantsï¿½ views on their colleagues ï¿½ the midwife "professionalizers"; and 3) the views on their key clients ï¿½ the women giving birth. I show that all the three domains of the midwife culture are strongly determined by the medical model of childbirth, though this has been significantly challenged by those who promote alternative births.
KEYWORDS: occupational identity, the professionalization of midwifery, medical model of childbirth, ethnography.