Birth in South Africa Homebirth Natural Birth Spiritual Midwife

Is Midwifery a Dying Art?

Marianne Littlejohn - Midwife and proud of it

The following was originally posted on Facebook, but received such an overwhelming response that I felt it was worth posting on my website too. Below the original post about midwives’ and doulas’ seemingly different levels of recognition by the public in general, I have included the first couple of hours’ worth of Facebook comments. Please feel free to leave yours at the bottom of the page…


Marianne Littlejohn - Midwife in South Africa

All these positive studies on the benefits of doulas at births: I am feeling left out… how about some positive feedback for the older midwives who ‘doula’d’ their birth mamas for decades before doulas became popular. Obstetricians tolerate Doulas because they ‘know’ less. Authentic experienced midwives know more than obstetricians about physiological birth as well as being ‘with women’; we know more than doulas about managing difficulties that may arise in an otherwise normal labour and birth. Do we get recognition for this?

The older midwives are being marginalised along with their knowledge and wisdom and women and babies suffer as a result. In the 1972 SANC midwifery regulations, home visits were part of the scope of practice before and after the birth. Why has this been deregulated? Because fewer midwives are trained and their training is short and doctor dependent, while more doctors are trained to be terrified of normal birth, thereby imposing interventions on the mother instead of giving her confidence in herself. Sure a doula can do that, but midwives offer more: safe homebirths, waterbirths, mother directed pushing, optimal birthing positions, emergency care where applicable, etc.

We need to train better midwives, not more doctors. We need to reaffirm innate women’s knowledge about health, nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and encourage women to access this knowledge. Women should know their bodies are capable and powerful when they are healthy. Midwives teach this better than doctors and therefore we need more well schooled midwives.

It seems these issues are not foremost on the public or private maternal health care agenda. So then we shall continue to train the doulas and train them well…..

Comments left on Facebook:

Is Midwifery Dying Comments Left on Facebook

If you’d like to leave a comment please leave it in the box at the bottom of the page. You can view the original post on Facebook here

What do you think?