Tuesday, May 5 marks International Day of the Midwife. This day, which was officially designated in 1992 by the International Confederation of Midwives, recognizes the invaluable work of midwives around the world. This year, the theme is "The World Needs Midwives Today More than Ever," which highlights the ongoing campaign for more midwives to serve women around the world. Did you know that:
- Midwives are crucial in reducing the rate of maternal and infant death around the world?
- Midwives who are educated and regulated to international standards can provide 87% of the care needed by women and newborns?
- Midwives can improve rates of premature birth, the use of interventions used in birth, breastfeeding, and length of hospital stay?
- Women with a low risk pregnancy may be best served by a midwife?
Lamaze encourages women who are trying to conceive or who are pregnant to investigate maternity care options available, including the use of a midwife. If you're unsure of how a midwife differs, take a look at the following informational resources:
- Have You Considered a Midwife for Your Prenatal Care?
- How to Choose a Midwife
- Questions to Ask Your Physician or Midwife
- Is Your OB or Midwife Right for You?
How a Midwife Is Different
In general, there are certain qualities and practices in prenatal care with a midwife that often differ from that from an obstetrician. Like:
- Parnership with a woman, empowering her to take part in more self-directed care
- Respect and advocacy for choices in a woman's health care, as well as full human righs
- Sensitivity to cultural differences
- View that pregnancy is not a "disease" but a normal life event
- Respect and advocacy for the normal physiologic ("natural") course of labor and birth
(Summarized from key midwifery concepts as defined by the International Confederation of Midwives)
On our sister blog, Science & Sensibility author and community manager Sharon Muza, CD, BDT (DONA), LCCE, FACCE, shares with us the following four interesting facts about midwifery:
- There are approximately 26,000 midwives in the USA. This number includes Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Midwives and Certified Professional Midwives.
- Midwives practice and catch babies in hospitals, birth centers and in families’ homes.
- 11.3% of all babies born in the USA in 2013 were caught by midwives (Martin, Hamilton, Osterman, et al. 2015)
- Approximately 0.6% of all midwives in the USA are male. (Pinkerton, Schorn, 2008)
We'd love to hear from mamas who have been attended by a midwife... share with us your stories and advice!