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Midwives are responsible for taking care of pregnant women, their families and their newborns, in the time leading up to childbirth and immediately afterwards. They work in hospitals, clinics, general practitioners’ practices, birthing centres and will often travel to patients’ homes.
During pregnancy, a midwife will provide antenatal care to an expecting mother. The midwife ensures the wellbeing of the mother and the healthy development of the unborn child through a variety of procedures, including ultrasound scans and blood tests.
A midwife will be present during labour, keeping a close eye on the progress of both the mother and the child. They administer pain-relief medicine and, in the case of any complications, for example if the mother needs an emergency caesarean section, they will contact and work with obstetricians to ensure the safe delivery of the child and the wellbeing of the mother. A midwife is not licensed to perform caesarean sections.
For first-time mothers, the midwife will teach the mother and her family all areas of postnatal care, including how to best wash, feed and generally look after the newborn.
In cases of miscarriage, termination of pregnancy and stillbirth, it is the duty of the midwife to provide care and emotional support to women and their families.