A midwife is a professional in midwifery. Also known as obstetrics, midwifery is the health science and the health profession concerned with pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period, besides sexual and reproductive health of women throughout their lives. The actual duties of the midwife are mainly to assist in the birthing process. It is said that the rates of obstetrical intervention in birth are rising worldwide. For example, national cesarean rates in Taiwan, China, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Puerto Rico are between 40 and 50 percent. In the United States, the cesarean rate has risen since the early 2000s from 23 percent to 29.1 percent; most European countries, Canada, and Australia have cesarean rates in the mid-20 percent range. Although professional midwives attend most births in some of these countries, they are biomedically socialized and often overworked, and have been unable to stem the rising cesarean tide, which is largely obstetrician driven. Though both midwives and obstetricians have worked hard to preserve normal vaginal delivery in these countries the Scandinavian and Japan are the exceptions. Here cesarean rates range from 12 to 17 percent.