Ask any midwife about their professional skills and guidance, in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and you will be reminded of the evolving role midwives play in delivering babies into our world.
On this International Day of the Midwife (5 May), the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) is highlighting the essential contribution of midwives in response to the current public health crisis.
NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said midwives have risen to the challenge of supporting expectant mothers during COVID-19 and adapting their responses to protect both mums and newborns.
“The babies being born in this challenging environment are in the best possible hands because they’re being guided, supported and cared for by midwives who are determined to give them the best possible start in life,” said Mr Holmes.
“As difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic has been on so many aspects of all our lives and livelihoods, the role of midwives and the tremendous job they do in responding to the maternity care needs of mothers and babies has not wavered.
“We want to highlight the resilience of our midwifery members on this International Day of the Midwife and congratulate them on their contribution to the profession.”
NSWNMA member and midwife of 30 years, Sue, from Northern Sydney acknowledged the challenge COVID-19 has presented in delivering maternity services, but also recognised some individual benefits.
“In the current time of the pandemic, women feel more vulnerable. They have less support from family and friends and less face to face interaction with healthcare providers,” Sue said.
“As midwives, we try to fill the void as best we can and give reassurance and care. As a positive without as many visitors the mother and father have more time to bond with their babies and get to know them.”
Emma Gedge, President of NSWNMA Wollongong Hospital branch, has been a midwife for seven years and said the global pandemic had prompted a number of maternity changes but nothing midwives would shy away from.
“We have had to think of new ways to ensure mums and babies are able to access services they need. It has changed the way we can provide education as we have to move to online platforms,” said Ms Gedge.
“Midwifery is a very hands on role, from supporting birthing women to helping mums to breastfeed, so the pandemic has posed some challenges there.”
Download this release: Midwives deliver unwavering support during COVID-19