INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE MIDWIFE
The medical profession of a midwife is celebrated every year on May 5. The goal of the observance is to draw attention to this field of health care and to attract more registered nurses to become midwives. Midwives are qualified health care providers who receive comprehensive training and must pass an examination to become certified. Certification is offered by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM).
A midwife will:
- Provide family planning and preconception care
- Do prenatal exams and order tests
- Watch physical and psychological health
- Help make your birth plans
- Advise about diet, exercise, meds, and staying healthy
- Educate and counsel your pregnancy, childbirth, and neonatal care
- Give emotional and practical support during labor
- Admit and discharge patients from the hospital
- Deliver babies
- Make referrals to doctors when needed
Some of the first records of the occupation of midwife go back about 2,000 years before Christ. The actual word ‘midwife’ dates back to around 1300 and means together or alongside a woman (mid means ‘together with’, so ‘together with woman’).
WebMD says midwives may deliver babies at birthing centers or home, but most can also deliver babies at a hospital.
The organization Midwives Alliance quotes a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that says the number of midwives attending births in the U.S. reached an all-time high in 2009 and continues to climb.
Millennials more than their parents appear to be interested in delivering babies with a midwife. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there were 6,250 practicing certified midwives in the United States in 2018. The average earnings for a midwife in the U.S. are about $104,000.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Watch for and plan to attend events sponsored by midwife groups.
Sponsor a brown bag lunch for a midwife to attend to explain her work.
Recently, BBC produced a series based on the memoir Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth who was a midwife in the 1950s. Both the series and the memoir are worthy backgrounds for the recent history of midwives and maternity care in the 20th century.
Use #IDM and #Midwives to follow on social media.
The idea of having a day to recognize and honor midwives came out of the 1987 International Confederation of Midwives conference in the Netherlands. International Midwives’ Day was first celebrated May 5, 1991, and has been observed in more than 50 nations around the world.