May 5 is International Day of the Midwife – B.C. Midwives Day closer to home – and an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the midwives in our region, province and around the world. International Day of the Midwives was first celebrated on May 5, 1991, and has since been observed in over 50 nations around the world. This day recognizes the amazing work and dedication of midwives in providing exemplary perinatal care to mothers and families.
As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19, babies are still being born. There were more than 43,000 deliveries in the province in 2019/20. During this time, midwives have been working tirelessly in their communities, under challenging circumstances, to provide the safest possible care and support to their clients.
“In B.C., we have reached an all-time high in parents seeking midwifery care during pregnancy, birth and postpartum," said Linda Knox, regional department head of midwifery at VCH." “Midwives are currently involved in a quarter of the province's pregnancies."
This past year has been challenging for everyone. However, midwives have not allowed the pandemic to either slow or diminish the quality of their work in any way.
During the pandemic, midwives have continued providing home births and hospital births, postpartum home visits and in-person postpartum care to parents and newborns who do not have family doctors. Many midwives have also come forward to participate in the COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
“This year, midwives have navigated the pandemic in extraordinary ways to minimize impacts to families," shared Lehe Spiegelman, president of Midwives Association of B.C. “Midwives have demonstrated leadership throughout VCH in primary maternity care while adapting to new pandemic measures to keep families safe with no disruption to maternity services."
“It has truly been a year like no other, where both the value and fragility of life has been more evident than ever. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on health-care systems, including maternal and newborn care. As midwives, you've continued to support families in bringing new lives into this world during a time of great stress and uncertainty. Your commitment and contribution is unmistakable each day of the year, and today particularly on the International Day of the Midwife, I want to thank and acknowledge the critical role you play as health practitioners dedicated to quality maternal and newborn care."
– Vivian Eliopoulos, Interim President & CEO
“Throughout a global pandemic, B.C. midwives have supported health care service delivery with extraordinary efforts. The data is clear: B.C. midwives provide stable and sustainable maternity care services that are a cornerstone of B.C.'s health care system. Their work is critical and invaluable to our communities. We have huge appreciation for all of our VCH midwives!"
– Linda Knox, Regional Department Head of Midwifery, VCH
“I believe midwives occupy a special place in our community of care, by offering a combination of high-quality family and woman-centred care, informed choice, continuity of care and a strong personal touch. The pandemic has been incredibly challenging for all the practicing midwives in VCH, but I have been proud of their heroic effort in putting their heads down and continuing to deliver the highest standard of care, without any interruption, or decline in quality. Well done!"
– Gillian Welsh, Division Head of Midwifery at Lions Gate Hospital, VCH
“On this day of recognizing midwives, it is with immense gratitude that I celebrate the work of midwives across VCH and B.C., for holding steadfast the care of families while facing unprecedented challenges during a global pandemic."
– Lehe Spiegelman, President, Midwives Association of B.C.
One of the best ways to celebrate International Day of the Midwife is by learning more about midwives and the services they provide by visiting canadianmidwives.org and bcmidwives.com and expressing your gratitude to all of the incredible midwives in B.C.!Visit canadianmidwives.org
Thank you also to Nancy Tsao, Terra Nova Midwifery, for also contributing to this story.