Midwives in Scotland are hoping to spread the message that midwives do more than simply help a woman to give birth.
The Royal College of Midwives in Scotland is publishing a booklet explaining that midwives work in varied environments such as hospitals, the community and the home, and have important roles in promoting public health and reducing health inequalities.
“This is a vital part of a midwife’s work, of course, but the role includes so much more”
The booklet, titled Midwifery in Scotland – into the 2020s, is designed to get policy makers and planners to think about midwives when services for women and early years are being developed.
It uses case studies of nurses working across a range of midwifery roles in Scotland, including perinatal mental health, home birth, and supporting vulnerable women who have been trafficked or are survivors of female genital mutilation.
The publication also outlines the challenges facing maternity services in Scotland. These include the need for investment, increasing midwifery staffing vacancies, an ageing workforce, and a lack of choice for women over where to give birth.
Mary Ross-Davie, the RCM’s director for Scotland, said: “When people think about midwives, very often they think about birth and a midwife assisting a woman as she gives birth to a newborn baby.
“This is a vital part of a midwife’s work, of course, but the role includes so much more,” she said.
Midwives already make a “huge contribution”, she said. “But I think they can make an even bigger contribution if politicians and service planners think about them right at the start of improving and developing services for women and children in the early years.”
She added: “Midwifery is one of the oldest professions but it can and is making a real difference to women and babies now in the 21st century, and they can do even more.”