TODAY IS INTERNATIONAL MIDWIVES DAY
WHO IS A MIDWIFE?
The midwife is a professional in obstetrics. The term is used in reference to both women and men, although most midwives are female. In addition to providing care to women during pregnancy and birth, some midwives may also provide primary care related to reproductive health, including annual gynecological exams, family planning, and menopausal care. Many developing countries are investing money and training for midwives and other community health workers so that they can provide well-woman primary care services that are currently lacking.
Midwives are specialists in childbirth, postpartum, and well-woman health care. They are educated and trained to recognize the variations of normal progress of labor and deal with deviations from normal to discern and intervene in high risk situations. In many developing countries, where it is available midwifery is the front-line of maternal health services and provides necessary care in a safe and cost effective manner. In the United States, more women utilize obstetricians rather than midwives, Obstetricians are medical doctors who can provide care not only in healthy pregnancies, but surgical and instrumental deliveries in situations which require them as well.
International Midwives Day ~ May 5
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 over 50 nations around the world.
Included here is information to aid you in planning your events. Included are step-by-step guidelines for obtaining a proclamation from your state and/or local governments, samples of proclamations and request letters, a sample press release, excerpts from the International Confederation of Midwives newsletter, and a list of other ideas for celebrating. Please share the information with other midwives in your state or province. The more positive publicity midwifery receives, the more birth choices women will have!
Have fun celebrating this special day! And please let us know what was accomplished in your area in the way of proclamations and events to further promote midwifery care for childbearing women.
Index to ideas for celebrating International Midwives Day
How to have a Proclamation Issued in your State or by your Governor
Sample Request Letters for Proclamation
Sample Proclamations from Various States
Press Release Guidelines
Sample Press Release
About Public Service Announcements
Excerpts from ICM Newsletters
- Obtain a proclamation recognizing this day from your governor or local officials. Make arrangements to pick up local proclamations yourself or send a representative of your organization or a group of midwifery supporters. Try to get press coverage.
- Plan a picnic in the park, a potluck dinner, or a rally for the families you have served. Consider opening it to the public and press (“come talk with some home birth families” or “come learn why these families used a midwife”).
- Have an Open House at your office. Invite the governor, mayor, or your legislator to your event. Invite local doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, and health officials. Have a presentation ready explaining the benefits of midwifery care.
- Participate in a radio or TV talk-show or interview.
- Arrange a church service or plant a tree in a local park to commemorate the day.
- Make up and distribute flyers about midwifery and International Midwives’ Day. Send out to the public, legislators, policy makers, insurance companies, etc. Send legislators a “new constituent birth announcement”. Office supply stores now have stationary items like postcards and greeting cards that feed through your printer.
- Have a gathering of midwives. Send all the midwives in your state a copy of your proclamation, if you can copy it onto special paper. Frame it and take your local midwife out to lunch and present the proclamation to her as an award. Call some clients to join you and invite the press to an (inexpensive, easy to organize) Award Ceremony in honor of this day.
- Wear lapel ribbons signifying the day (in Michigan, they wear blue and pink ribbons). Let people at other meetings you attend know that International Midwives Day is coming up. Take some ribbons along, distribute them and ask people to wear them on May 5.
- Send out Public Service Announcements to local radio and TV.
- Arrange to have a display or a booth in a shopping mall or health, women’s or children’s fairs.
- Give special presents to babies born on International Midwives’ Day. Send their pictures into the paper with birth announcements.
- Above all, get as much media coverage of events as possible. Send out press releases before and after International Midwives’ Day. Take pictures at your event and send copies into the paper after your event. Make your celebration of this event as public as possible. Celebrate the wonders of midwifery with your community and reach out to those who are not yet aware of these wonders in order to educate them!