Spotlight on Midwives: Leading the way with quality care
For the International Day of the Midwife, we celebrate and give thanks for midwives everywhere for their work to make pregnancy and childbirth safe around the world. At Every Mother Counts, we invest in the work of midwives because we believe that the midwifery model of care provides mothers with quality maternity care built on a relationship of respect, trust, and emotional support.
What is the midwifery model of care? The midwifery model approaches pregnancy and childbirth as healthy, normal life events and the pregnant person as an active decision-maker in these experiences. Midwifery supports a collaborative healthcare team model, to provide families with evidence-based care and a comprehensive set of services, including health promotion, education, and support.
To honor the work of midwives, we wanted to highlight our grantee partners around the world that are either led by midwives or supporting midwives to offer compassionate, respectful, and appropriate maternity care to mothers everywhere.
Changing Woman Initiative
Led by nurse-midwife Nicolle Gonzales, Changing Woman Initiative aims to build the United States’ first Native birth center to offer reproductive and maternal healthcare that is driven by the lived experiences of Native women in New Mexico. By providing culturally appropriate care that is rooted in histories of traditional birth knowledge, Changing Woman Initiative addresses the alarming maternal health disparities for Native women in the United States and offers historically marginalized communities respectful and restorative care.
HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh
Not only does the HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh provide critical pregnancy, postnatal, and newborn care to underserved communities in Cox’s Bazar, it works with the government and BRAC University to implement a three-year professional midwifery training program. Following their certification, these midwives relocate back to rural communities in Bangladesh to provide quality and respectful maternity care where access to maternal health services is difficult.
Asociación Corazón del Agua
Young Indigenous women from rural communities in Guatemala attend the accredited school at Asociación Corazón del Agua to train as midwives in a three-year program. Led by Gabriela Meléndez, a nurse-midwife, these students practice clinical care at the school’s affiliated birth center and become leaders in their own communities by integrating professional health services and the promotion of their own Indigenous cultural traditions.
Foundation for the Advancement of Haitian Midwives
The Foundation for the Advancement of Haitian Midwives (FAHM) supports the Haitian professional midwifery association through continuing education, leadership training, and capacity building. By supporting the midwifery workforce, FAHM works to support Haitian midwives in providing evidence-based and culturally appropriate midwifery care to mothers and to raise the profile and awareness of midwifery as a profession in Haiti.
At Jennie Joseph’s Easy Access Clinics in Orlando, Florida, every woman who walks in the door is treated with quality, respectful care based on the four cornerstones of Commonsense Childbirth’s model of care: access, connection, knowledge, and empowerment. Jennie, herself a midwife, demonstrates the impact of midwifery in action by providing every woman, regardless of insurance, race, or immigration status, the opportunity to have the healthiest possible pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
Asociación of Comadronas of the Mam-Speaking Area
The Asociación of Comadronas of the Mam-Speaking Area (ACAM) is a group of 40 Maya midwives in Concepción Chiquirichapa, Guatemala, who have come together to lead a birth center, mobile clinic, and education and training opportunities for their majority Indigenous communities. In providing midwifery-based care in their own communities, the midwives of ACAM work on addressing the concerns of local mothers and families in their care that is appropriate, respectful, and culturally appropriate.
Midwives for Haiti
Using a curriculum grounded in the midwifery model of care, Midwives for Haiti provides quality maternity care to mothers in the most remote parts of Haiti by increasing access to skilled healthcare providers. In addition to operating a birth center in rural Haiti and mobile prenatal clinics, Midwives for Haiti has contributed to growing the obstetric workforce in Haiti by training skilled birth attendants and matwòns, traditional birth attendants.
By Yuki Davis, Programs Associate at Every Mother Counts
Learn more about Every Mother Counts and our grantee partners at everymothercounts.org.