I loved my midwife. I loved my OB/GYN too, but there was something so wonderful about the birth of my last child, surrounded by women who were well trained, deeply respectful and who listened to me as we worked together to deliver my son.
Compassionate and competent care from a midwife can make a world of difference to a mother and her newborn. They are on the front lines of life and death everywhere, also playing an essential role in saving the lives of newborns born prematurely. With a decent health system (the right hygiene practices, equipment and support staff) midwives can save even more lives.
Midwives can also help a mother get informed about her options for contraceptives so she can space her children as she wishes and have the best health outcome for her body. I worked with my midwife post-birth to decide on the best family planning solution for us. Having a safe and trusted relationship in which to ask questions made a huge difference.
We Need More Midwives
“Access to quality health care is a basic human right. Greater investment in midwifery is key to making this right a reality for women everywhere.” ~ UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin
There is a significant lack of adequately educated midwives to support the health and care of women and infants worldwide.The State of the World’s Midwifery (SoWMy) 2014 report released last week focused on 73 African, Asian, and Latin American countries. These countries account for 96% of maternal deaths, 91% of all stillbirths, and 93% of all newborn deaths; these same 73 countries have access to only 42% of the world’s midwives, nurses, and doctors.
Sister Regina Lutaaya, from Uganda, one of the countries covered in the report says when she went into rural areas, “I discovered that we had only one midwife, (who) could not do what she was supposed to do because of the overwhelming numbers of mothers.”
“We feel very alone, and we are a marginalized community,” said Maria Parez-Lopez, a midwife in Mexico, another of the countries included in the report. “We don’t have materials to work with. Our community has no ambulance or car to drive to the hospital. Sometimes we can’t save women in time,” she added.
Midwives save millions of women and children each year and we need them to have the right resources so they can save even more. Investing in midwives means investing in healthy families and healthy communities.
Take Action Challenge
Share this article with the above infographic to help spread the word about the need for an investment in midwives throughout the world. Check out the SOwMy2014 report here!