Chapter 1: Words to midwives
Share your knowledge with the people you care for
With accurate information, each woman has the ability to understand her body
and to make wise decisions about her health. Each time you meet with a woman
during pregnancy or for other care, explain what you are doing and why. Answer
any questions the woman has about her body or her health.
Admit what you do not know
No one knows every answer. Some problems have no easy answer! Admit what
you do not know, and people will trust the knowledge you do have.
Respectful and compassionate care
Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. As a
health worker, the way you treat a woman is
Midwives are often trusted
authorities. A kind or
encouraging word from you
can go a long way in giving a
I worried about you
when you did not
come last month.
woman confidence in her
ability to care for herself. An
unthinking or cruel remark can cause
hurt that lasts many years in a woman.
I’m glad she is not
yelling at me. Now I
can explain that I
missed my checkup
because my other
child was sick.
Do not judge
Some women are used to being treated
disrespectfully. When you begin to work with
a woman who is often treated with disrespect
because of her age, the work she does, her
ethnicity or religion, how much money she
has, having a disability, or for other reasons, she may expect you to treat her badly
as well. You can only overcome this fear by showing her that you are there to listen
and help her — not to judge or criticize.
Follow your own advice
People are more influenced by what you do than what you say. And because
midwives are respected by their communities, the things you do may encourage
others to care for themselves. If you breastfeed your children, other women in the
community may be more likely to breastfeed. If you do not smoke, other women
may follow your example and not smoke, or may stop smoking. Live your own life
as you would advise others to do.
A Book for Midwives (2010)