This study analyzes the role of the midwife in prenatal care by exploring the history of the midwifery profession in Finland and by interviewing midwives. Midwifery education started in Finland in the beginning of the 19th century due to the utilitarian population policy aiming to reduce the high infant mortality rate. Because of a shortage of physicians professional midwives attained an important status in the care of births. With industrialization a state-directed welfare policy with state-subsidized health care developed. After World War II, the midwifery were legally defined as care during pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period. In the 1950s, the scope of work of midwifery was further altered because hospital deliveries had become routine. Some midwives provided prenatal care in ambulatory maternity health centers while others worked in hospitals managing normal childbirths. Separate midwifery education ended in 1968 and resumed 1986. Since 1972, public health nurses have increasingly provided prenatal and postnatal care in maternity centers, and specialized nurses have managed normal childbirths. In the future, public health nurses may totally replace midwives in prenatal care, and the role of midwives may return to care of normal deliveries. Midwife interviews revealed the "medicalization" of pregnancy caused both by physicians and midwives' own medical concept of pregnancy and by clients' demands for good care.