The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority marks International Day of the Midwife on Monday with a display in the atrium of the Cayman Islands Hospital from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Lizzette Yearwood, chief executive officer of HSA, said, “Cayman is well served by a small but talented team of midwives who are able to cover all three islands. The authority employs 16 midwives in the maternity unit, plus two in the Women’s Health Clinic, and one in each of the district health centers.
“Midwives practice in a variety of environments, ranging from the hospital to delivering infants and caring for them in the parents’ home. Here in the Cayman Islands, our midwives practice in the hospital, clinics, and travel to visit mothers and babies in the home following delivery.”
Shannon Hydes, nurse manager of maternity, said midwives must complete extensive training before they can become qualified.
“Midwives conduct deliveries for about 63 percent of hospital clinic patients each year,” Ms. Hydes said. “However, they assist at all births… conducted by private obstetricians. Even though planned home births have not taken place on a regular basis since the 1970s due to safety concerns, midwives are able to undertake such deliveries for selected patients.”
She added that a midwife is recognized as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to provide care for the mother and the newborn.
Midwives need to be able to detect complications in mother and child and be able to access medical care or other appropriate assistance as well as carry out emergency measures, should the need arise.
“It’s a huge responsibility which requires considerable skill on the part of the midwife,” she said. “I would like to extend a big thank you to all midwives for their hard work and dedicated service to mothers and babies here in the Cayman Islands as well as abroad.”
Ms. Yearwood said the midwife also carries out the important task of health counseling and education, not only for women, but also in the family and the wider community.
“This work involves antenatal education and preparation for parenthood and may extend to women’s health, sexual or reproductive health and child care,” she said.