International Day of the Midwife

International Day of the Midwife is celebrated annually on 5th May. It was first celebrated May 5, 1991, and has since been observed in over 50 nations around the world. The idea of having a day to recognize and honour midwives came out of the 1987 International Confederation of Midwives conference in the Netherlands. In 2014 it was celebrated in Iran and New Zealand among other places.

A midwife is a professional who provides care to women during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period, midwives may also provide primary care related to reproductive health, including annual gynecological exams, family planning, and menopausal care. Many developing countries are investing money and training for midwives and other community health workers so that they can provide well-woman primary care services that are currently lacking.

Midwives are specialists in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and well-woman health care. They are educated and trained to recognize the variations of normal progress of labor and deal with deviations from normal to discern and intervene in high risk situations, such as breech births, twin births and births where the baby is in a posterior position, using non-invasive techniques. When a pregnant woman requires care beyond the midwife’s scope of practice, they refer women to obstetricians or perinatologists who are medical specialists in complications related to pregnancy and birth, including surgical and instrumental deliveries. In many parts of the world, these professions work in tandem to provide care to childbearing women. In others, only the midwife is available to provide care, and in yet other countries many women elect to utilize obstetricians primarily over midwives.

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