5th May 2019 International Day of the Midwife

Press Release: 5th May 

UNIVERSITY Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) has celebrated International Day of the Midwife to highlight the vital role these professionals play in the health of mothers, newborns and their families.  

International Day of the Midwife is celebrated annually on May 5th and its global focus is on ensuring that all pregnant women have access to a qualified midwife and appropriate maternity care and services.

This year’s theme is “Midwives: Defenders of Women’s Rights”. It highlights the vital role that midwives play in protecting the rights of women across the childbearing years by ensuring they can exercise their full human rights.  A key global message is the need to ensure that there are sufficient qualified midwives to care for women and newborns and that governments continue to invest in education and training of midwives and growing the midwifery workforce.

At UMHL, the celebrations are spanning  a full week.  A bespoke study day for midwives was arranged for Thursday, May 2nd on ‘Normalising Childbirth’. One of the key themes from the National Maternity Strategy is to promote and protect childbirth as a healthy and normal physiological event.  

On Friday, May 3rd secondary school students from local schools were treated to information sessions on the role of the midwife and got a chance to be involved in some workstations showcasing the role of the midwife (e.g. breastfeeding, baby bathing and taking blood pressure).  UMHL has held this event over the last four years and it has resulted in the recruitment of three students into the BSc Midwifery programme.

And on Sunday, May 5th all babies born in UMHL will receive a certificate in celebration of International Day of the Midwife. Various events are taking place for staff to acknowledge all their great work.

Margaret Quigley, Director of Midwifery, UMHL, said: “International Day of the Midwife is a very important date in our calendar.  This year’s theme highlights the advocacy role that midwives have to ensure women and babies rights and interests are protected and the impact they can have in influencing the safety and autonomy of women.  The day is dedicated to all of the wonderful skilled midwives we have in the service and I would like to thank each and every midwife for all they do, day in and day out for women and babies at UMHL”.

Denicka Hickey and Leah O’Mahony, as secondary students in Gaelcholaiste Luimni and Laurel Hill Secondary School respectively, attended International Day of the Midwife in UMHL in previous years. Both are now taking the BSc in Midwifery at the University of Limerick and are training as student midwives at UMHL.

“My mam, Kay O’ Mahony, is a clinical nurse specialist in intellectual disability nursing. I loved biology in secondary school. I loved learning about the body and I knew I never wanted to work in an office job; I wanted to be hands on,” said Leah.

Both Leah and Denicka had heard about International Day of the Midwife through their career guidance teachers and through Carol Desmond, from the Midwifery Practice Development Unit in UMHL.

“I, along with two other students, attended the day. I found it very interesting, especially the tour of the hospital, and a mother and baby came in to tell us all about breastfeeding her baby,” recalled Denicka.

“All the transition year students were very impressed in relation the role of the midwife and how much responsibility a midwife has. I always wanted to work in the healthcare sector but I felt midwifery was the one for me. It always interested me how a woman’s body is able to carry a baby and how the physiology works,” said Leah.

“You get the opportunity to work in many different areas in the hospital and in other hospitals. I’m finding the course brilliant and the placements phenomenal,” said Denicka, who since starting her degree has returned to Galecholaiste Luimni and given a talk to fifth and sixth year students on midwifery as a career option.

Secondary schools who participated in this Friday’s event for TY students included Colaiste Nano Nagle, Sexton Street; Castletroy College; Colaiste Mhuire, Askeaton; St John the Baptist Community School, Hospital; Colaiste Mhuire, Ennis; Laurel Hill Secondary School; Laurel Hill Colaiste and Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh.

Last updated on: 07 / 05 / 2019