Alison EdwardsAlison Edwards, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery at Birmingham City University

Sunday May 5 is International Day of the Midwife. Perhaps a time to reflect not only on how Midwifery has changed as a profession over the years, but to perhaps look to the future and how we may be practising in years to come.

Midwifery has dramatically changed over the years. No longer are we the local woman in the village called upon to share her experiences. Nor are we the bicycle riding, middle class single girls visiting women at home for their births, as portrayed in TV programmes like Call the Midwife’. Instead we are highly trained professionals working within a range of different, often stressful environments, dealing with the ever changing complexities of childbirth. Knowledge and technology are driving forward at a breath-taking pace and women are being enabled to have babies which 20 years ago would be impossible for them; coinciding with ever fluctuating birth rates.

What lies ahead is difficult to predict. The fast pace of current practice is unlikely to change and Midwives must clearly sustain their basic skills alongside keeping up to date with latest policies, new procedures and the ever changing structure of the NHS, whilst trying to manage a home life too. But we must always remember that the mechanisms of childbirth will never change and whatever stage of our career we are at, we should never lose site of the basic principle that Midwives are experts in normality and have knowledge of the abnormal. At the end of the day no matter what heads our way, we are here to support and guide women and their families through what are for them unique experiences.

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Alison Edwards

Alison Edwards

Senior Lecturer in Midwifery at Birmingham City University’s Faculty of Health