What is a Midwife?

A Midwife is recognised throughout the world as the most appropriate care provider for most women.
A Midwife is a trained professional who offers expert care, education, counseling, and support to a woman and her newborn during the childbearing cycle. The Midwife works with each woman and her family to identify their unique physical, social and emotional needs. In addition, many midwives provide well woman gynecological care and family planning services. Midwives know how to watch for and identify potential or actual complications, and they can provide emergency treatment until additional assistance is available.

What do Midwives do?

Midwives offer:

  • Pre-natal care that promotes informed decision-making
  • Choice of birth place
  • Education and counseling
  • Labor support, birth and postpartum care
  • Support for bonding
  • Examination and evaluation of the newborn
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Counseling in early parenting
  • Well woman care

Midwifery Care: Division of Expertise

Midwives are experts on normal birth; Obstetricians are experts on difficult or surgical births. This division of responsibility between two strong and respected professions creates the best conditions for optimal birth care.

Midwifery care is cost effective:

Midwifery fees are typically less than fees for comparable services provided by physicians; midwifery care saves money without sacrificing quality or safety.

Midwives provide personalized care:

Women want more than technological care during pregnancy and birth. Midwives encourage participation by family members and provide continuous support during labour and birth. Midwives trust the birth process and affirm each individual woman’s ability to give birth.

Midwives encourage informed choice:

Midwives encourage women and their families to take an active part in their own health care. Pregnancy is an ideal time to educate mothers about nutrition, healthful birth practices breastfeeding and infant care.

Midwifery care offers choice of birth place:

Midwives practice in homes, birth centres and hospitals. Midwives support the right of the parents to choose the birth place that best suits their needs.

Midwifery care makes a difference:

Midwives worldwide have an excellent record of safety with numerous studies associating midwifery care with excellent outcomes. In five nations with the lowest infant mortality and lowest rates of technological intervention, midwives attend 70% of all births without a physician in the birth room.

Source: adapted from:”What is a Midwife” pamphlet written by Ina May Gaskin