Sunday, January 6, 2008

Definition of Midwife

I thought it would be good to post a definition of what a midwife is on this blog, as I am called infomidwife. There are many definitions of a midwife, if you look in the dictionary you will find some variations. The Collins dictionary; midwife "a woman trained to help women in childbirth", this seems rather limiting and does not really define what a midwife is. Interestingly when parliament is formulating or deciding on legislation and they cannot determine what a word means or should mean one of the ways they determine this is to look the word up in the dictionary - this explains the limited meaning of the word midwife in our legislation in Australia. The WA Nurses and Midwives Act 2006 defines a midwife as " a person registered as a midwife" & midwifery as "means the practice of assisting a woman in childbirth".

The definition that I feel really incorporates all we do as midwives and should be adopted by parliament in our legislation, is that determined by the Internationl Condfederation of Midwives (ICM) & World Health Organisation (WHO).

"A midwife is a person who, having been regularly admitted to a midwifery educational programme, duly recognised in the country in which it is located, has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practise midwifery.

She must be able to give the necessary supervision, care and advice to women during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct deliveries on her own responsibility and to care for the newborn and the infant. This care includes preventative measures, the detection of abnormal conditions in mother and child, the procurement of medical assistance and the execution of emergency measures in the absence of medical help. She has an important task in health counselling and education, not only for the women, but also within the family and the community. The work should involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood and extends to certain areas of gynaecology, family planning and child care. She may practise in hospitals, clinics, health units, domiciliary conditions or in any other service"

Jointly developed by the International Confederation of Midwives
and the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.
Adopted by the International Confederation of Midwives Council 1972.
Adopted by the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 1973.
Later adopted by the World Health Organization.
Amended by the International Confederation of Midwives Council, Kobe October 1990.
Amendment ratified by the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 1991
and the World Health Organization 1992.

I welcome your thoughts on this subject, what do you think?


Carolyn McIntosh said...

It is good to see another midwife joining the blogesphere. I look forward to reading your postings. It is a great way to connect with others who share your interests.

I am a midwife and a midwifery educator in New Zealand, with a particular interest in rural and remote rural midwifery issues.
If you happen to pop by my blog I would welcome your thoughts on any of the topics I have been discussing.

You are probably aware that midwifery in New Zealand is predominantly direct entry now, i.e. no need to be a nurse also. We have midwives working all over the country, in rural and remote areas as well as in the main centers, who have gained their midwifery qualification in this way. I wonder what your thought are about this?
I have spoken with some Australian midwives who are concerned about midwives not having a nursing qualification particularly when working in more isolated areas. I have also read some material from Australia which identifies difficulties with continuing professional development when the area of practice is diverse. Do you think Australia will move to a direct entry qualification? I wonder if you see any advantages or disadvantages with this?

Look forward to communicating further.

infomidwife said...

Hi Carolyn,

thankyou for your comments, yes it is good to connect with like minded people. You inspired me to blog about our new venture in WA with Direct Entry Midwifey, Bachelor of Science Midwifery. I also shared some of my feelings when I was first exposed to direct entry midwives. I suspect that there will be some teething problems as is with any thing new, lets hope they are few and far between. I look forward to reading about your experiences and you have a very informative blog site. I find blogging stimulating but did not realise it would take up so much time, but I love it. It becomes a passion. Congrats on reaching over 2,000 hits, well done, I look forward to the day I have 2000 hits.

Carolyn McIntosh said...

I have a stat counter on my blog Pauline. It gives me data on how many hits I have had, returning visitors and where they have come from. I can also get a world map with flags showing where hits have come from. I find this information to be interesting and stimulates me to keep going. Knowing that people are visiting and reading even if they do not comment. If you are interested just click on my stat counter and you will se my data and be able to register for your own if you want.

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