Chapter 1: Words to midwives
Experienced midwives continue to learn
There is always more to know about birth and about health. Every birth is
different, medical information changes, and there are new skills to be learned.
As long as you are a midwife you can:
• watch how other midwives,
health workers, and doctors do
• ask the women and families you
work with what they like and do
not like about the care that you
• read books or other written
materials. Keep helpful books
with you so you can look up
information you do not use
regularly or remember.
• learn new skills. If you can get
the training and tools to do new
procedures safely, do not be
afraid to learn a new skill. This
will allow you to help more
women in your community and
to become a better midwife.
Midwives learn from teachers, books, and other midwives and health workers.
Mostly they learn safe ways to practice. But as any midwife gains more experience,
she will discover that some of what she learned is not the safest or most effective
way to care for women.
Midwives must be willing to change their ideas when they learn new ways of
practicing so they are always practicing in the best ways they can. Midwives must
look honestly at the ways they practice to be sure they are working well —
whether they learned these practices from doctors, traditional healers, or
Asking “why” is important because it helps you do more than just remember what
you have been told or what you have read. When you know why, you can make
decisions even when there is no person or book to tell you exactly what to do. You
can also adapt a treatment or tool to be of use in a way that others may not use it.
Finally, asking “why” is important for understanding the causes of problems —
to treat problems effectively, and to prevent them from happening again.
A Book for Midwives (2010)