Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Quality midwifery care for mothers and newborns

International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress 2017

A midwife helps a mother breastfeed her newborn.
WHO/K. Reidy

19 June 2017 -- WHO has a significant presence at the 31st ICM Congress where over 4000 midwives, policy makers, donors, civil society and government representatives from 116 midwifery associations, representing 102 countries across every continent are gathering in Toronto. The theme for this year is “Midwives - Making a difference in the world” with daily themes of: leadership, partnerships, professionalism and supporting women’s and girls’ rights.

International Day of the Midwife 2017

A midwife counsels a woman in a clinic.
ICM

Every year 5 May is celebrated globally as the International Day of the Midwife. The theme for this year celebration is "Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!" Midwives everywhere understand that by working in partnership with women and their families they can support them to make better decisions about what they need to have a safe and fulfilling birth. The event is organised each year by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM). There is also a Virtual International Day of the Midwife: an annual free 24-hour online international conference celebrating midwifery.

Midwives' voices, midwives' realities report 2016

13 October 2016 -- The "Midwives voices, midwives realities report 2016" documents the voices and realities of 2470 midwifery personnel in 93 countries and describes, from their perspective, the barriers they experience to providing quality, respectful care for women, newborns and their families. The findings highlight that hierarchies of power and gender discrimination hinder progress, but also demonstrate the great potential for improvements in quality of care when the voices of midwives are heard.

The case for midwifery

Midwife, checking the blood pressure of a pregnant woman with a stethoscope, in Khaspak, Afghanistan
WHO/C Black

Midwifery is defined as “skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate care for childbearing women, newborn infants and families across the continuum from prepregnancy, pregnancy, birth, postpartum and the early weeks of life”. The evidence shows us that midwifery plays a “vital” role, and when provided by educated, trained, regulated, licensed midwives, is associated with improved quality of care and rapid and sustained reductions in maternal and newborn mortality.

International Day of the Midwife 2017

A midwife counsels a woman in a clinic.
ICM

Every year 5 May is celebrated globally as the International Day of the Midwife. The theme for this year celebration is "Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!" Midwives everywhere understand that by working in partnership with women and their families they can support them to make better decisions about what they need to have a safe and fulfilling birth. The event is organised each year by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM). There is also a Virtual International Day of the Midwife: an annual free 24-hour online international conference celebrating midwifery.

fact buffet

Midwifery care

83%of all maternal deaths, stillbirths and newborn deaths could be averted with midwifery care (including family planning) .

The case for midwifery

Service delivery

87%of services can be provided by midwives, when educated to international standards

The case for midwifery

Improved outcomes

56 outcomeswere found to be improved through midwifery practice and philosophy of care.

The case for midwifery


Quality of care in midwifery: priorities

Education

A midwife with mother and baby: Malawi.
White Ribbon Alliance

Strengthening midwifery education is vital to improving quality of care.

Empowerment

A midwife speaks at a conference.
WHO

Midwifery personnel have the solutions – their voices need to be heard.

Public health

A midwife with mother and baby: Liberia.
WHO/Liberia

Midwifery has a strong public health function, for example through ensuring access to clean water and sanitation during childbirth, supporting breastfeeding mothers, delivering family planning services and tobacco cessation in pregnancy.