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International Day of the Midwife

Day of the Midwife

Each year since 1992, May 5th has marked International Day of the Midwife, which aims to raise awareness of the essential care midwives provide to mothers during pregnancy, and to their new born babies. Although so much of our daily lives is different this year, pregnancy still progresses and babies are still being born, meaning midwives continue to use their expertise, experience and compassion, albeit in profoundly different circumstances.

Day of the Midwife 2020

Noel Scanlon, executive director of nursing at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said, "Like many of our clinical teams, midwives have had to adapt how they work in order to protect the women they care for, their families, and themselves, as much as possible - not straightforward when many of our midwives work in the community, visiting mums and their new babies at home.

"If there's one message we'd like to pass to pregnant ladies it's that our maternity service is still very much here for you. While the focus of much of the reporting of how the NHS prepared for Coronavirus was understandably about Emergency and Intensive Care Departments, our maternity departments have also adapted to ensure ladies get the best and safest possible care.  So it's important to contact your midwife if you have concerns.  Perhaps your baby isn't moving as much as usual, or you're not feeling yourself.  Our maternity team is still here to listen and give advice.  We understand reluctance to come to hospital at the moment, but it's important to seek help if you become concerned. You can ring our pregnancy assessment units on 0191 333 2142 or 01325 743025.

"We know pregnant ladies are anxious about having their baby in hospital, especially when their partner can only be with them during active labour.  But birth partners can bring you to the department then, if they wish, wait in the car park so they can be with you quickly once you're in active labour.  Our ward teams will be with you on the post-labour ward and ladies tell us they feel very well supported and cared for there.  They're even making connections with other mums, much more so than when partners are present more regularly.  Who knows, some may be friends for life.

"We've also made changes to ante-natal services, some temporary but others we may keep as they're proving successful and ladies tell us they're happy with them.  In particular, in many cases we're talking to ladies over the phone rather than asking them to attend a hospital clinic.  Of course, when necessary, depending on the individual circumstances, we don't hesitate to see them face to face, but very often this isn't necessary and phone is much quicker and more convenient.

"In line with national guidance, when ladies do need to come to hospital, we ask that they come on their own, including for scans. We're humbled by how understanding families have been.

"Our midwives wear protective clothing - PPE - both in hospital and when visiting new mums at home.

"Our maternity ward teams remain very busy, delivering 352 babies during March alone and they tell us they've never been prouder to be in the profession.  They're also enormously grateful for the kindness and support they're receiving. 

"We usually celebrate International Day of the Midwife with a large conference that attracts midwives from across the country, and we will do that later in the year hopefully.  Meanwhile, I'd like our midwives to know how proud I am of them and everything they've put in place, so quickly, to ensure the ladies of County Durham and Darlington, and their babies, are safe in our care."


Published 5th May 2020

'Care received was fantastic and I was very well looked after and very impressed.'

Patient, Day Surgery, Darlington Memorial Hospital