"a woman who assists women in childbirth," c. 1300, literally "woman who is 'with' " (the mother at birth), from Middle English mid "with" (see mid (prep.)) + wif "woman" (see wife). Cognate with German Beifrau.
word-forming element making nouns meaning "place for, art of, condition of, quantity of," from Middle English -erie, from Latin -arius (see -ary). Also sometimes in modern colloquial use "the collectivity of" or "an example of."
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Definitions of midwifery from WordNet
the branch of medicine dealing with childbirth and care of the mother;