May 5 is celebrated as International Midwives Day. The day was marked out by the International Confederation of Midwives in 1980. However it took time for the concept to take off and it was finally formally launched in 1992. Celebrated all over the world, this year’s theme is “Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!”
As we all probably are aware a professional in midwifery is known as a midwife. Midwifery is really only what is commonly understood as obstetrics that is the health science profession that deals with pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care including care of the new-born. Midwifery deals with continuity of care with the primary responsibility of care and well being of childbearing women.
In our country too we have always had the traditional Dai who actually took on the responsibility much like the trained midwife in assisting pregnant women with the birthing process. Aside from this they also offer due support to the women when needed. Many government and non-governmental programmes of late have focused on enhancing the role of dais to make them take on a more educated role.
The dai turned midwife has a critical task in health counseling and education of pregnant ladies. Especially in rural areas and remote locations lacking hospital facilities, the midwife may be the only recourse for families and communities for assisting with childbirth. Therefore looking into the essential role played by the midwives in India, several innovative training programmes have come up that involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood for new mothers.
The midwives role aside from assisting expecting mothers also extends to sexual reproductive health and child care. With increased esteem and regard given to the midwives role they are now increasingly practicing in all kinds of settings besides the home. Adapting to their new found status they are playing an integral part in communities, hospitals, clinics and health units. Trained Dais with demonstrated competencies are being registered as legally licensed to practice midwifery.
Today’s midwife in India is recognized as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with government or non-governmental agencies in giving necessary support and care during pregnancy, labour and postpartum period, along with providing care for the newborn infant. Such care includes preventative measures, promotion of normal birth, detection of complications in mother and child, accessing of medical care or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures.
HERD Foundation offers salutations to midwives on this International Midwives Day knowing full well that they play a unique role, especially in rural settings. Rural communities are grateful for their partnership in promoting health-care for mothers, infants, and families. They remain culturally sensitive to their job working with families and healthcare givers. HERD Foundation joins in to commend their essential role on this International Midwives Day!
Virtual International Day of the Midwife (VIDM) 2017
The Virtual International Day of the Midwife (VIDM) is an annual free 24-hour online international conference celebrating midwifery and birth-related matters on IDM. This year sees the 9th annual conference and is organized by individuals having backgrounds in midwifery, education and online facilitation. The committee gives their time voluntarily and is proud to offer this conference entirely free of charge in order to enable midwives, and others interested in the birthing process, to network and participate in continuing professional development. Here is the link to get access to the VIDM 2017: