About Midwifery

Definition of The Midwife

“A midwife is a person who has successfully completed a midwifery education programme that is recognized in the country where it is located; who has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed; and who demonstrates competency in the practice of midwifery.

Scope of Practice
The midwife is recognised as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to provide care for the newborn and the infant. This care includes preventative measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in mother and child, the accessing of medical care or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures.

The midwife has an important task in health counselling and education, not only for the woman, but also within the family and the community. This work should involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood and may extend to women’s health, sexual or reproductive health and child care.

A midwife may practise in any setting including the home, community, hospitals, clinics or health units.”

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Definition of Midwifery

“Midwifery is the profession of midwives, only midwives practise midwifery. It has a unique body of knowledge, skills and professional attitudes drawn from disciplines shared by other health professions such as science and sociology, but practised by midwives within a professional framework of autonomy, partnership, ethics and accountability.

Midwifery is an approach to care of women and their newborn infants whereby midwives:

  • optimise the normal biological, psychological, social and cultural processes of childbirth and early life of the newborn;
  • work in partnership with women, respecting the individual circumstances and views of each woman
  • promote women’s personal capabilities to care for themselves and their families
  • collaborate with midwives and other health professionals as necessary to provide holistic care that meets each woman’s individual needs

In some countries where the title ‘midwife’ is not yet protected, other health professionals (nurses and doctors) may be involved in providing sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health care to women and newborns. As these health professionals are not midwives they do not possess the competencies of a midwife and do not provide midwifery skills, but rather aspects of maternal and newborn care.”

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