International Day of the Midwife takes place on 5 May and was first celebrated by midwives in 1991. It is organised annually by the International Confederation of Midwives to raise awareness of the important job midwives do and their role in the community.
A new display in the RCOG Library at Sussex Place takes a look at the papers and wonderful images held in the Archive of the Royal College of Midwives which celebrate the work carried out by midwives since the late 1880s and the relentless pursuit of better conditions in which to carry out that work and improve maternity services.
In April 1957, Audrey Wood, General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, delivered a lecture to the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene in which she highlighted the function of midwives in relation to clinical care and teaching responsibility in antenatal care, together with their role as a member of the community health ‘team’ and wider role on the international stage. These functions are represented in the display through items from the RCM archive, museum and library, all cared for at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Badges issued to state certified midwives are scattered throughout the display, demonstrating the huge service performed by midwives throughout the years. And our ever popular midwife in ’60s uniform stands guard over it all!
Penny Hutchins, Archivist