MIDWIFERY - PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES
Introduction to midwifery
The history of midwifery is a long and interesting one. Women of all ages and countries have done noble work as midwives throughout the countries. Socrates mother was a midwife and he considered it ' a most respected profession'.
According to Aristotle, a midwife is a most necessary and honourable office, being a helper of nature. Midwife carries a huge responsibility in helping women during childbirth.
Biblical references to midwives have always been to their honour. There are instances in the Old Testament to show that midwives play vital role.
Until the end of the sixteenth century, midwifery was practised entirely by women. Men could be severely punished for attending women in childbirth. In the seventeenth century male midwives began to take up midwifery.
By the middle of the eighteenth century the number of male midwives had increased, though there was great opposition and competition from the midwives and from the general public.
In English the word midwife means 'With woman'(the person with the woman who is in labour). The midwife has a unique role in care of mothers and babies. She must be able to give the necessary supervision, care and advice to women during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct deliveries on her own responsibility and to care for the mother and the newborn.
The birth of a baby is a momentous occasion. Tiny details of the experiences surrounding the whole event are saved in the memory forever.
Midwives hold an important key to positive care at the time of childbirth that will contribute to a good start for the baby and parents. The midwife is able to do so only by virtue of her expert knowledge. The education of the midwife is designed to enable her to fulfill her wide and varied role.
During the last 25 years of the nineteenth century, several hospitals began to train midwives and to issue certificates. In 1902 Midwives Act in United Kingdom entitled an act to secure better training and supervision of midwives.
In 1992, The World Health Organization defined that a 'midwife is a person who, having been regularly admitted to a midwifery educational programme, duly recognized in the country in which it is located, has successfully completed the prescribed courses or studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and or legally licensed to practise midwifery'.
Midwifery is the knowledge necessary to perform the duties of midwife.
Obstetrics is that branch of medicine, which deals with the management of pregnancy, labour and puerperium.
Gynaecology is that branch of medical science, which treats diseases of the female genital organs.
Reproduction means process by which a fully developed offspring of its kind is produced.
Pregnancy is a state of carrying fetus inside the uterus by a woman from conception to birth.
Gestation means pregnancy.
Gravidae is state of pregnancy irrespective of its duration.
Para refers to state of a woman who has given birth to a baby at or after the age of viability.
Nullipara is the woman who has not given birth before. Primigravidae is a woman carrying first pregnancy.
Multigravidae is a woman carrying pregnancy more than once.