The term midwife is derived from Middle English:
mid = “with” and Old English: wif = “woman”
Midwifery is a health care profession in which providers offer care to childbearing women during their pregnancy, labour and birth, and during the postpartum period. They also care for the newborn through to six weeks of age, including assisting with breastfeeding (Midwives Australia).
As the International Day of the Midwife is 5th May 2012 we thought it might be timely to learn a little more about the amazing work Midwives undertake.
Did you have a Midwife? It was something I didn’t consider during my first pregnancy but I was so grateful for the support and care I received by the Midwives in the hospital clinic during my pregnancy and then ongoing during my hospital stay. Did you know that most Midwives in Australia were first trained as Nurses before becoming Midwives? There is now a Bachelor of Midwifery, so no need to also studying Nursing.
Natasha Oglesby is a well-respected Midwife on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. She has recently opened the Sunshine Coast Birth Retreat – a facility for women looking for post-natal care. Natasha kindly shares her thoughts on Midwifery and explains the benefits to both mother and child:
The Practice of Midwifery is based on the understanding that pregnancy, labour and birth are profound experiences, which carry significant meaning for a woman, her family and her community. Midwifery is grounded in the principles of health and well-being, recognising that conception, pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding are natural life processes. Midwifery care enhances these life experiences and provides continuity of care through a reciprocal relationship between midwives, women and their families.
Midwifery is a partnership between a midwife and a woman and her family, which is based on mutual respect. Midwifery practice is based on the individual, recognising each woman’s unique strengths and needs. Midwifery care promotes self-care, growth, awareness and confidence, and is provided in a manner that is flexible, creative, empowering and supportive.
Midwifery actively encourages informed choice throughout the childbearing cycle by providing relevant, objective information to facilitate decision making. The practice of midwifery enables women to develop the understanding, skills and motivation to take the responsibility for and control of their own health.
Working as a Midwife to me, is more than a career choice. I believe that being present at the birth of a baby is one of the, if not the most privileged experiences in life. The role of a Midwife is to advocate for, and when necessary, protect both mother and child. This role does not finish when the baby is safely welcomed into the world. The Midwife ensures the safety of both mother and baby from birth through to discharge home from hospital, and for the post partum period at home.
Thanks so much for sharing Natasha!
Friends of mine that had the support of a Midwife from early on in their pregnancy have developed beautiful friendships with them. Let’s be honest, even with the best guidance our partners can feel a bit lost during labour! I remember sitting on an exercise ball and my husband trying to be helpful by rubbing my back – but I really just didn’t want to be touched! It’s pretty easy to see the benefits in having that experienced guidance and support leading up to, throughout the birthing process, and afterwards when bringing baby home.
Midwives Australia is a great resource if you’d like any further information, including how to find a Midwife in your area. And do check out the Sunshine Coast Birth Retreat for caring support and a place to bond and rest following the birth of your baby.
Did you engage the support of a Midwife early on in your pregnancy? How do you feel about the experience and would you recommend your fellow pregnant sorellas do the same?