Celebrated internationally yesterday was the International Day of the Midwife, hashtagged #IDM2015 all over social media in appreciation of midwives all around working tirelessly to achieve safe and healthy deliveries for every intending mother.

At SLNI, we thought it best to celebrate #IDM2015 by visiting active #midwives in one of the General Hospitals in the FCT to highlight to us why it was important to have them by every intending mothers’ side during and several weeks after pregnancy due to the fact that we work with women in rural communities.

Speaking with Nurses Hajara*, Eno*, & Simi*; they explained that as “Certified practising midwives“, their role is to act as a support system to every intending mother. Upon arrival at any registered hospital or clinic, they were the first point of contact with any intending mother. Not only do they run routine ante-natal tests, they also ran general health talks and discussion groups which included various topics like nutrition for mother & baby, sex during pregnancy, preparing for delivery e.t.c. They are also able meet with the intending mothers at any time during the pregnancy outside of their routine appointments to talk about their worries or clarify anything they did not understand.

“As a midwife, my commitment to every woman does not end after delivery but several months after delivery. You see it is not just to care for the pregnancy, even after the woman delivers we still need to monitor her and the baby, teach her how to care for the baby, clean the baby, also watch her to make sure she breastfeeds the baby exclusively for 6mnths. We also ensure to run the routine tests for baby and ensure that the baby has all the vaccinations recommended for him/her.” says Nurse Hajara*

When asked about homebirths, all three midwives exclaimed that under no circumstances do they recommend homebirths. “Having a baby at home is not recommended at all. What happens when there is a complication? To have a baby at home causes more harm than good. We have had several cases where both mother and baby died due to no equipment to resuscitate them or to take care of the complications that arose. However, if a woman suddenly goes into labour and she is a home, she should get to the nearest hospital. You must never try to have your baby at home.” says Nurse Simi*

However, it appears that with all the noise made by the midwives surrounding care during the pregnancy, there are some intending mothers who are stubborn. “Some of them will come for ante-natal and health class but when it’s time for delivery you won’t see them again. Some of them will come after delivery, some with issues and some without any issues at all. Sometimes they will say it just happened or they will give reasons like the hospital was too far for me to come or say my tradition says we should give birth at home. That’s why we always tell them to register close to their house incase of an emergency or complications instead of putting themselves and their babies at risk.” says Nurse Eno*.

At the end of the visit, when asked about their thoughts on the #IDM2015, although excited to have a day where their work is recognised, they expressed that more still needed to done. “More women still needed to be educated on why it was important to have a skilled health practitioner at birth. Child birth is a beautiful and fulfilling experience, why jeopardise it” says Nurse Eno*

How did you spend your #IDM2015?

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