7 Things You Probably Don't Know About Midwives

7 Things You Probably Don't Know About Midwives
In medieval times, midwives were denounced as witches. Wikimedia Commons

The term “midwife” can conjure up images of a stern matron, iron pressed and ready for some no-nonsense birthing, or, in the more modern era, a back-rubbing, hand-holding, motivational cheerleader who can make or break the birthing experience. Midwives are so much more than those two stereotypes.

Here are a few things you may not know about the profession. The Conversation

1. The word “midwife” means “with woman”, although in France, where the midwife is a “sage femme”, it means “wise woman”.

2. Some people think that midwifery is simply another branch of nursing. Midwifery is, in fact, one of the oldest professions in the world, one that is thought to have arrived prior to the nursing and medical professions.

3. Midwives make up 36% of the midwifery-service workforce, according to a survey of 73 countries. Other professional members of the team may include auxiliaries, nurse-midwives, nurses, associate clinicians, general physicians, obstetricians and gynaecologists. Yet, as midwives can perform most essential maternal and newborn care, future investment in midwives could free up these other professionals to focus on other health needs around the world.

4. Midwives are among the few healthcare professionals that don’t generally care for the sick. Although they are trained to manage emergency situations, midwives are the experts in normal childbearing.

5. Midwives don’t just catch babies. There are a number of specialist roles that a midwife can fulfill. Such specialist roles may include sonography (ultrasound scanning) during pregnancy as well as safeguarding – where a midwife works to protect vulnerable families. Midwives can also work in management, commissioning, education, policy, quality assurance, inspection, and research.

6. Along with the decline of women’s social status during the middle ages, midwives (almost always female) were denounced as witches by doctors (always male) who felt threatened professionally. Yet, while doctors were trying to catch up to midwives in learning about physiology in childbirth, women were unable to train as doctors. So, despite their wealth of professional experience, midwives were pushed out as the less desirable choice in childbearing.


 Get The Latest From InnerSelf


7. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, doctors ran campaigns to socially stigmatise midwifery and make the ancient practice illegal in some places. This was largely done for economic reasons, but also to increase the status of the predominantly male medical profession.

It worked, as the care of physicians in childbirth during this time became the popular choice for upper-class women. Now, in the 21st century, midwives continue to reclaim their position as respected experts in childbirth, working in partnership with doctors, multidisciplinary teams, mothers and families to achieve the best outcomes in childbirth around the world.

About The Author

Sally Pezaro, Midwife, Lecturer and Researcher, Coventry University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Related Books:

{amazonWS:searchindex=Books;keywords=midwifery;maxresults=3}

enafarzh-CNzh-TWnltlfifrdehiiditjakomsnofaptruessvtrvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook-icontwitter-iconrss-icon

 Get The Latest By Email

{emailcloak=off}

FROM THE EDITORS

InnerSelf Newsletter: September 6, 2020
by InnerSelf Staff
We see life through the lenses of our perception. Stephen R. Covey wrote: “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are──or, as we are conditioned to see it.” So this week, we take a look at some…
InnerSelf Newsletter: August 30, 2020
by InnerSelf Staff
The roads we are travelling these days are as old as the times, yet are new for us. The experiences we are having are as old as the times, yet they also are new for us. The same goes for the…
When The Truth Is So Terrible It Hurts, Take Action
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
Amidst all the horrors taking place these days, I am inspired by the rays of hope that shine through. Ordinary people standing up for what is right (and against what is wrong). Baseball players,…
When Your Back Is Against The Wall
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
I love the internet. Now I know a lot of people have a lot of bad things to say about it, but I love it. Just like I love the people in my life -- they are not perfect, but I love them anyway.
InnerSelf Newsletter: August 23, 2020
by InnerSelf Staff
Everyone probably can agree that we are living in strange times... new experiences, new attitudes, new challenges. But we can be encouraged in remembering that everything is always in flux,…