BACKGROUND: A midwife is a medical professional who has a nursing license, and is also licensed as a midwife with one additional year of education. In this globalization era, a midwife's role is increasing in importance for women and children's health care worldwide. PURPOSE: The primary purpose was to analyze midwifery education programs in Korea and other nations. The secondary purpose was to define strategies to improve midwifery education and practice, and to extend the role of a midwife women and children's health care in Korea. METHODS & RESULTS: 1) The definition of a midwife and midwifery practice recognized internationally by World Health Organization (WHO) and International Council of Nurse Midwives (ICNM) was identified. 2) Midwifery education programs of Korea, U.S.A., Sweden, Australia, and Japan, were investigated and discussed. 3) Core competencies for the basic midwifery practice suggested by ACNM of the U.S.A. were reviewed as standard of midwifery practice. 4) As for the midwifery education system, a Masters degree program in a college of nursing is suggested. 5) The role of a midwife includes not only health care of childbirth women and newborn babies, but also a lifelong health care of women as well as her family and children. CONCLUSION: An effort to extend the midwife's role and to improve service is imperative. The Laws/Acts related to midwives should be revised in regard to education, and practices, and the national examination for midwifery licensure needs revision to qualify for international approval. Also, midwifery curriculum and standards of practice need to be evaluated periodically, and an effective system needs to be established to renew midwife licenses.