Midwife meaning “with women”
Midwifery is one of the oldest professions in this world and has recently become “popular” again with the introduction of movies like “call the midwife”. Midwives used to be single (wise, old) women in order to be available to be on call for births. Today most midwives work in hospital settings with rostered shifts which make family life and work easier to plan. Some strong willed midwives work in private practice to be able to offer continuity of care and are on call 24/7, which is a big commitment and also privilege. This website gives you some information about private practice midwives here on the Sunshine Coast 🙂
Different languages show us that the word midwife means women-centred (Anglo-Saxon “with women” (mid=with, wife=woman), wise (French “sage femme”= wise woman) and uplifting (German “Hebamme” (lifting woman). Most midwives love their job and find it uplifting and a privilege to be working with women.
Looking at the actual profession, midwives are educated, responsible and accountable professionals working in partnership with women and their families to give support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the post birth period. In Australia the initial midwives’ training takes between 3-5 years and is a registered profession with AHPRA, which includes keeping updated about newest evidence, practices and guidelines.
Midwifery care includes promoting normal birth, implementing preventative measures, detecting complications in mother and baby and consulting/referring to the medical team if required, carrying out emergency measures if required as well as health promotion and education. A midwife can practice in hospitals, clinics, community, home or health units in employed or self-employed setting. In order to work as an independent / private practice midwife the midwife needs to become an “endorsed midwife” with AHPRA, which includes 3 years full time work experience in pregnancy, birth and postnatal care, completion of diagnostic and pharmacology study and indemnity insurance (Indemnity insurance is currently unavailable for homebirths in Australia).