Midwifery encompasses care of women during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period, as well as care of the newborn. It includes measures aimed at preventing health problems in pregnancy, the detection of abnormal conditions, the procurement of medical assistance when necessary, and the execution of emergency measures in the absence of medical help (WHO).
A professional midwife is a person that has acquired the competency needed to get the legal registry or certification established by the regulating agency of each country.
Professional midwives must be able to provide women with the necessary companionship, care and guidance during pregnancy, labor and postpartum period; assist labor with sensibility, responsibility and self-determination and care for the newborn and nursing infant. This care includes preventive measures, an integral healthcare service, detection of the baby and mother’s pathological conditions, primary emergency care and proper recommendations.
They achieve the important task of orienting and educating, not only women but also their community, on sexual and reproductive rights. They promote respect for gender equality and cultural diversity. Their work is based on physiological knowledge and their trustworthy wisdom about the mother’s and baby’s body, and acknowledges labor and birth as natural events that are both intimate and unique. The areas of expertise include the preconceptional and prenatal sphere, maternity and paternity coaching, pregnancy, labor and postpartum period physiological care and it extends to certain areas of sexual and reproductive health, breast/womb/ovary examination, menstruation and menopause treatments, identification and treatment of vaginal and urinary infections, PAP smears, cervical visualization, HPV tests, sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), psychoprophylaxis, family planning and sexual orientation.