Did you know today is International Day of the Midwife and according to the Nursing and Midwifery Board there are 33 590 midwives registered in Australia?This international day of recognition for Midwives was first celebrated on 5th May in 1991, and has since been observed in over 50 countries around the world. The International Confederation of Midwives has identified that “Midwives: for a better tomorrow” is the slogan for 2015. This slogan highlights the special role that midwives play in creating a positive future for mothers, babies and families.
Here is some interesting information regarding the history of Midwifery and there is a really interesting article enclosed.
“The history of obstetrics is inextricably linked with the history of midwifery. Obstetrix is the Latin word for midwife: it is thought to derive from obstare (to stand before”), because the attendant stood in front of the woman to receive the baby. Only in the 20th century did the subject taught in medical schools change its name from “midwifery” to “obstetrics,” perhaps because a Latin name seemed more academic than the Anglo-Saxon, derived from mid, “with,” and wyf, “woman” (1)
“The writings of Hippocrates in the fifth century BC include a description of normal birth. Instrumental delivery was restricted to stillborn babies and involved the use of hooks, destructive instruments,or compressive forceps”
In the 1554 a book which became the forerunner to a latin text De conceptu et generatione hominis was published in Zurich. It has been suggested that the popularity of this text led to tension between doctors and midwives because doctors barred as men from attending normal childbirth—could now learn midwifery from the printed page.(2)
It is apparent that the role of midwives over time will continue to expand and adapt to change based on technology, legislation and societal expectation’s. One thing that remains a constant in the ever changing health care environment is the dedication and commitment that midwives have to the delivery of quality caring services for Mothers and babies.
1. http://www.dimensionshealth.org/index.php/dimensions-health-services-prince-georges-county-maryland-md/midwifery/history-of-midwifery/ (Accessed 05.05.15)
2. Drife J., History of Medicine: The start of life, History of Obstetrics http://pmj.bmj.com/content/78/919/311.full.pdf+html ( accessed 05.05.15)