Since time eternal women haven’t given birth in hospitals instead the majority of them did so from the vicinity of their homes under the strict supervision of their midwifes. Midwives are women who specialize in supporting the birth process naturally. Midwives provide a comprehensive range of sexual and reproductive health services from conception to delivery. They ensure a robust, woman-centered approach, providing compassionate and dignified care to women and babies.
Midwives are women’s trusted companions throughout their pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period. They play a critical role in assisting women in having healthy pregnancies and having a positive pregnancy experience. Consider this, every year, 35 000 women die in India during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period; 272 000 stillbirths occur, and 562 000 babies die in their first month. Did you know about 83% of newborn deaths, maternal deaths, and stillbirths can be prevented by midwives?
Unfortunately, based on current trends and projections, only 300,000 midwifery jobs are expected to be created by 2030, with a shortage of 1 million midwives by then. These statistics present a grave impact on the 2030 sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which aims to lower the global maternal mortality to less than 70 per 1,00,000 live births.
International Day of the Midwife
Midwives are the front-line caregivers and the backbone of maternal and child health care on the continent, having been an integral part of medicine for centuries. They provide antenatal, intrapartum, and post-natal care and family planning, and breast and cervical cancer screenings to women during pregnancy and childbirth. They can also offer primary emergency obstetric care in an emergency.
Since 1992, the 5th of May has been observed as the International Day of the Midwife to honor midwives’ work and raise awareness about their importance in providing essential care to mothers and newborns.
Midwives across the World
Midwives oversee the births of most expectant and new mothers in high-income countries like the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, and France, allowing obstetricians to focus on high-risk births. Their services are highly valued in Canada and New Zealand.
Poor-quality care and disrespect are deterrents to seeking lifesaving maternity services due to a severe shortage of competent and confident health providers, particularly at the lower levels. In recognition of its outstanding leadership in midwifery, India has committed to hiring an additional 85,000 midwives by 2023 to the existing workforce.
The importance of International Midwives’ Day can be attributed to several factors. The following are the examples:
- Midwives are in short supply. When we talk about all of the wonderful things that midwives do, it’s also important to remember that there is a shortage of midwives, especially in developing countries! This means that midwives face numerous challenges, including a lack of support, low status, and low pay.
- Every year, midwives save millions of lives. Since 1990, the number of newborn and maternal deaths has steadily decreased worldwide. More women receiving skilled midwife care is one of the main reasons.
- Midwives provide critical medical care. In addition to saving lives, midwives provide various other vital medical services. They can also perform basic emergency obstetric care in some countries.
- Midwives are vital defenders of women’s rights. Last but not least, we cannot discuss the importance of midwives without mentioning how they contribute to the advancement of women’s rights around the world. They can help survivors of gender-based violence and help prevent female genital mutilation (FGM). Their contribution should not be underestimated.
Midwife and Pregnancy Care
Midwives have made pregnancy care accessible to all. To begin with, midwives gave a lot of advice during home births and calm the expectant mother by encouraging them breathe and relax during labor. They felt safe in an intimate setting with women who were not strangers to them.
Obstetricians, gynecologists, and IVF specialists believe that midwives can greatly assist rural areas if they are medically trained and do not engage in unsanitary practices. However, independent midwifery is currently not recognized in India. The Indian Nursing Council registers graduates as either registered auxiliary nurse-midwife (ANM) or registered nurse and registered midwife (RNRM).
Nurses and midwives play an essential role in health care, and they are frequently the first and only point of contact in their communities. One of the most critical factors in achieving Universal Health Coverage is having a strong nursing and midwifery workforce. Nursing and midwife services must be strengthened to achieve triple impact in terms of improving health, promoting gender equality, and supporting economic growth.
Gigadocs supports midwives as one of the most important caregivers for childbearing women, helping keep births normal and improve women’s, newborns, and families’ reproductive health. This presents an opportunity for us to honor their profession and acknowledge their contributions to maternal and newborn health.
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