International Day of the Midwife is an annual event held on May 5th, dedicated to honoring and celebrating the vital role that midwives play in providing care for women and newborns throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period. This global observance aims to raise awareness of the importance of midwifery, support midwives’ professional development, and advocate for improved access to quality midwifery care. In this article, we’ll explore the history of International Day of the Midwife, how it’s celebrated, and the significance of midwives in promoting maternal and newborn health.
History of International Day of the Midwife
International Day of the Midwife was first celebrated on May 5th, 1991, following a proposal made at the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) conference in 1987. Since then, the ICM has continued to lead the annual celebration, with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations agencies, and various professional and non-governmental organizations worldwide. Each year, International Day of the Midwife carries a different theme to focus on specific aspects of midwifery care and promote dialogue on pertinent issues.
How to Celebrate International Day of the Midwife
- Spread awareness: Share information about the importance of midwives and their role in maternal and newborn health on social media, using the hashtag #InternationalDayOfTheMidwife.
- Attend or organize events: Participate in conferences, workshops, webinars, or other events dedicated to celebrating midwives and discussing the challenges and opportunities in the field of midwifery.
- Show appreciation: Express your gratitude to midwives in your community by sending thank-you notes or small tokens of appreciation for their invaluable work.
- Support midwifery education: Advocate for improved access to quality midwifery education and training, and consider donating to organizations that support midwifery students and professionals.
- Promote policy change: Encourage your local and national governments to prioritize midwifery care in their healthcare policies and to invest in the recruitment, training, and retention of midwives.
The Importance of Midwives in Maternal and Newborn Health
Midwives play a critical role in promoting the health and well-being of women and their newborns. Some of the key contributions of midwives include:
- Providing comprehensive care: Midwives offer a wide range of services, including prenatal care, assistance during labor and delivery, postnatal care, family planning, and reproductive health counseling.
- Reducing maternal and neonatal mortality: Access to skilled midwifery care has been shown to significantly reduce maternal and newborn deaths, as well as improve overall health outcomes.
- Promoting a woman-centered approach: Midwives prioritize the needs and preferences of women, ensuring that their care is personalized, respectful, and culturally sensitive.
- Empowering women: Midwives empower women by providing them with the information, support, and care they need to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.