Midwifery around the world

For further information, contact Melissa Maimann at Essential Birth Consulting. We may think we have it bad here .....


Here in Bulgaria, we do not have the same rights as elsewhere around the world. I mean the right of "self-practice." For a long while the government has avoided passing laws that allow this. Only the doctors are allowed to look after a pregnant woman, take care of her and assist in delivery. The basic college education required for midwifery is at a high level, but the job is not so interesting because we cannot have our own business in the terms of self-practice. Midwifery is unbelievably poorly paid, which is also one of the main reasons that young people are not interested in the profession. There also are not enough opportunities for further education and advancement.

Methods like Bradley, HypnoBirthing, Lamaze, Perinatal Psychology and others are unknown here. This situation harms pregnant women. Parturition is allowed only in hospitals and the women go there knowing nothing and, most of all, with fear.

— Tony Kalushkova Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

United Arab Emirates

In the United Arab Emirates we are working on the following projects: 1. Decreasing episiotomy (indication: fetal distress-shoulder dystocia) by letting delivery occur without episiotomy, with normal tears; 2. Skin to skin contact immediately at the birth and in a baby-friendly hospital; 3. Side position delivery for any patient who desires; and 4. Cleaning baby with oil instead of water.

— Leila Mostofi United Arab Emirates


I am heading tomorrow to work in Puvirnituq for a month, an amazing community among the Inuit of Northern Quebec, where birth has been taken back by the community in spite of the full-scale evacuation of all women from there in the late '70s and early '80s by the Federal Medical Services Bureau. This community provides the hope of what a small community can do when the women take power and kick the white male dominant culture out on a snow drift.

Almost all of Northern Quebec has now been rematriated, and almost all birth now takes place back in the community again, with better outcomes, even though they are a two- to eight-hour plane ride to cesarean section facilities. This was the work of 20 years of Inuit determination and help from southern white midwives, while US communities seem to have gone the opposite direction in the same time period. While the Inuit hadn't even heard of any "Yes, We Can" slogan, it was a case of cultural survival. That is what we need to transmit to women and communities at large. How birth is handled in any society is a barometer of that culture's survival capacity.

— Betty-Anne Daviss

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448