The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) is urging mothers and families to join midwives in calling for positive changes to midwifery and maternity services this International Day of the Midwife. 

Every year on 5 May, midwives, their associations, partners and supporters of midwives and midwifery organise events and activities to celebrate the International Day of the Midwife. 

This year’s theme, “Midwives, mothers and families: Partners for life”, encourages people to unite to advocate changes to services that will see more women able to access skilled midwives, as well as greater recognition of the vital, life-saving care midwives provide. 

"As the snap-election nears, now is the time for political leaders to commit that their government will deliver the funds that are needed for first class maternity services and to guarantee the wellbeing and pay of midwives and all NHS staff."

Gwen Kirby-Dent
clinical negligence injury solicitor at Thompsons

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every day approximately 830 women die worldwide from preventable pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes. While maternity mortality worldwide has dropped by about 44 per cent, the WHO says rates remain “unacceptably high”. 

More than a third (nearly 41 per cent) of all child deaths occur within the first month of life, with three quarters of all newborn deaths occurring in the first week of life. Many of these deaths could be prevented by access to a skilled midwife and proper antenatal care, according to the State of the World’s Midwifery 2014 report, “A universal pathway: A woman’s right to health”. 

“High-quality midwifery care saves millions of lives worldwide every year and contributes to prosperous, healthy communities,” said Gwen Kirby-Dent, senior serious injury and clinical negligence injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors. 

“We are proud to be supporting this International Day of the Midwife, and urge others to do likewise. We are extremely lucky in the UK to have access to some of the finest trained and regulated midwives in the world, but even here in the first world too many midwives are working under increasing pressure, attempting to deliver the care they know the mothers need and deserve whilst around them budget are being squeezed like never before and there are regular threats of NHS hospital closures. 

“As the snap-election nears, now is the time for political leaders to commit that their government will deliver the funds that are needed for first class maternity services and to guarantee the wellbeing and pay of midwives and all NHS staff. 

“It is in all our interests to ensure these talented professionals feel supported and are able to provide the safe and high quality services that those in their care deserve.”