The 5th of May is International Day of the Midwife and the UK should be supporting midwives and other maternity professionals more so now than ever before. Why? Because there is currently a baby boom, a shortage of 5,000 midwives and the UK has one of the worst stillbirth rates in the developed world according to the 2011 Lancet report. The Royal College of Midwives issued their State Of Maternity Services report earlier this year which is certainly worth a read.
One of our messages as a charity is to "Call The Midwife" if you have any questions or concerns during your pregnancy. Our website says "don't delay, call straight away". In order for midwives to give time to their patients to determine whether they should come into the clinic for assessment, they need good staffing numbers. Mums should feel confident that when they Call The Midwife in the early stages of labour, they will receive a first class maternity service. The latest survey from the RCM reports that 1 in 4 mothers didn't have a midwife with them during labour when they needed one. Could this be because the number of births in 2011 was the highest it has been since 1971 with well over 700,000? So what can be done?
You can write to your local MP and ask them to support the RCM's Protect Maternity Services campaign. More midwives need to be recruited as a matter or urgency and more maternity services need to stay open and financially supported. You can obtain more information from their website.
We are also helping to support midwives by putting together a series of mini videos to help keep midwives up to date with current guidelines. Our first one will be how to measure symphysis fundal height accurately as currently midwives are only detecting 30% of small for gestational age babies. This video will be launched in a couple of weeks time. The accompanying article and launch page can be found on our skills refresher page. You can also sign up to our newsletter to be updated about the launch.
We will soon be adding a Thank You page dedicated to all British midwives! If you would like to show your appreciation for the care you received during your pregnancy, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The best message we receive by the end of May will win one our our Baby Loss Awareness brooches. Here are a few of of the messages we have received so far:
"I've never felt more vulnerable in my life than during pregnancy, labour and the first hours afterwards. The knowledge, kindness and support of a good midwife can guide you through this terrifying, but amazing experience and make it positive and empowering. Without that support it can very quickly become a very horrible and scary time."
"I had amazing midwives with all 5 of my children, the one I will remember forever was the one who delivered my baby girl, she was so comforting and her quick actions got me into surgery to save my life, I'm eternally grateful to her, the love and comfort she gave to my family and myself was like a mother to her daughter. Midwives should all be recognised as amazing people, after all they are bringing new lives into the world, such an important job."
"The midwife I had with my last little girl was invaluable. She recognised something was wrong even before the doctors did. Her knowledge and 20 years experience kept me and my baby safe and responded quickly when she had to be resuscitated, amazing work they do."
"My midwife inspired me so much that I decided to become a midwife! I love that woman for leading me to where I am."
From all the MAMA Team - thank you to every midwife for making a difference to parents and their precious babies during these difficult times, you are truly appreciated.