YOUNG Corner Inlet district families whose children were either born at or transferred soon after birth to the South Gippsland Hospital (SGH) in Foster celebrated International Day of the Midwife one day early on Thursday May 4, 2023.
The work and dedication of midwives across the globe has been recognised on International Day of the Midwife on May 5 each year since 1992.
The idea of having a day to honour midwives came out of the 1987 International Confederation of Midwives conference in the Netherlands, with the occasion now observed in more than 50 nations around the world.
SGH marked 2023’s International Day of the Midwife with a cheerful, noisy gathering, complete with a festival of brightly coloured balloons, held in the RJ Fleming Room at the Hospital’s Community Health Centre in Station Road.
Local parents, with their babes in arms, toddlers, and kindergarteners ranging in age from 11 weeks up to four years, accompanied (of course!) by several of SGH’s own midwives, enjoyed a special morning tea of iced patty cakes and sliced fresh fruit.
Among those at the event was a mother of two young children, who herself was delivered at SGH by the late Dr Robbie Fleming after whom the International Day of the Midwife celebration’s venue was named.
Also there were mums nursing their firstborns, some with two and three little kids, and a couple of rather more mature people whose own children were born at SGH who have since grown up to experience parenthood, too..
SGH Manager Acute and Maternity Care, Marion Bowron thanked the families present for being part of “an absolutely fantastic turnout of mums, bubs and a dad!
“All of you here today are a real testament to the high level and quality of midwifery care offered by South Gippsland Hospital,” she said.
“Our midwives and many of our birthing families have come together today to celebrate the achievements of the midwifery team at SGH.”
Ms Bowron said that while SGH has acknowledged International Day of the Midwife in the past, this was the first time parents, their offspring, and the midwives who attended them through pregnancy, birth and the perinatal period have met up over a cuppa.
“The morning tea has provided the new mothers in the area a great chance to share their stories of birthing at SGH and the wonderful care they received,” she said.
“Between 50 and 60 babies are born at SGH every year, and there is also a number of other infants who come here to us with their mothers soon after birthing at another facility.
“The size of the midwifery team at SGH means that each woman has an opportunity to meet the majority of the midwives at some stage during their care, and that the midwives are familiar with each woman’s personal circumstances.
“This starts with the care the women receive in the maternity clinic during their pregnancy, through their labour, the post-natal period, and after they go home.
“SGH provides a domiciliary service to address any ongoing issues parents may have following discharge,” Ms Bowron said.
“A qualified lactation consultant is also available to provide assessment and advice for women who choose to breastfeed their babies.
“Some women are referred to give birth at a higher-level hospital if that is considered the safest option, however they are always welcome to return to SGH for post-natal care and support,” she said.
“The midwives and General Practice Obstetricians undertake extensive education each year to ensure they remain competent in a number of key areas, including neonatal resuscitation and managing obstetric emergencies.
\Additionally, SGH currently has two of the registered nurses undertaking their Postgraduate Diploma of Midwifery with the intention of becoming registered midwives by early 2024.
“This is part of the wider SGH ‘Grow your Own’ workforce program.
“The wonderful feedback the midwifery team receives from the women who experience maternity and obstetric care at SGH reflects the high level of care provided,” Ms Bowron said.
“SGH is very proud of the care and support given to families, and of the team of staff who make it happen.”