International Day of the Midwife – Kate Needham
5th May 2023
Since 1992, the fifth of May has marked International Day of the Midwife, a day to recognise, celebrate and show gratitude to midwives all over the world for their service to healthcare.
In celebration of International Day of the Midwife, we chatted to 23-year-old student midwife Kate Needham, who has a special passion for empowering women in her work.
As a student midwife, Kate’s placements have exposed her to the multitude of disciplines that midwives undertake every day. She has assisted with births, eased anxiety for women in the antenatal period, provided invaluable support in postnatal care and visited new mums in their homes on community visits.
For Kate, who is hoping to be a fully qualified midwife by the summer, there is one ward that has a special place in her heart.
“I love to work on the delivery unit because we provide one to one care, which means you get to spend so much time with a woman and her family,” she said. “When she’s a first-time mum, I’ll provide a lot of education, so we get a really good bond.”
It was Kate’s lifelong passion for women’s health advocacy that led her to a career in midwifery.
Reflecting on the importance of advocating for women’s health, Kate said: “We’re a vulnerable group. More often than not, we don’t realise the influence that our words have on people, especially at such a vulnerable time like pregnancy and childbirth.
“I like the responsibility of empowering women. It’s nice to know that patients are going to take your words home with them, and they’ll repeat their story for years to come. Knowing you’re going to be part of that story is very special.”
When we hear stories like Kate’s, we are reminded of the absolute importance of impeccably delivered patient care. Midwives like Kate go above and beyond for their patients on a daily basis, delivering specialised care that empowers women, celebrates their bodies and supports them through grief.
For parents like Michael and his wife Katie, who went through a tortuous period when their son Cillian was recovering on Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the midwives at St Mary’s Hospital made their tough experience bearable.
Cillian was admitted to NICU after being born via C-Section. The midwives noticed that Cillian was having difficulty breathing, and Michael later found out that Cillian had a lumber puncture and pneumonia.
Michael is grateful for the care Cillian received. he said: “The NICU staff were amazing in looking after Cillian and my wife, who later developed an infection. They delivered top notch medical care and outstanding support throughout our time there.
“It was a very distressful and upsetting situation, but the midwives gave us hope all the way through and looked after our mental wellbeing.”
Remebering a special moment between one midwife and Katie, Michael said: “We were both feeling exhausted travelling between home and the hospital. To this day, I remember when one midwife gave Katie a hug while Cillian was on NICU. That hug was more powerful than modern medicine, and it was exactly what was needed at the time.
“We were so amazed at the midwives working through the night to care for our son and many other children in there. Their strength is incomprehensible.”
It is due to the strength, resilience and expertise that our midwives hold, along with the life-changing impact midwives like Kate make to families like Michael’s, that Manchester Foundation Trust Charity celebrates International Day of the Midwife. Today, we celebrate and show gratitude for all the work that our midwives do.
For Kate, it is vital that we use International Day of the Midwife to recognise the essential part that the midwife, as an advocate for women’s health, plays in healthcare.
“Midwifery care is so important,” she said. “We celebrate women, their bodies, their choices. I think it’s essential not to allow the essence of midwifery to dimmish. Doing my degree has been a challenge, but it is very fulfilling to know you have helped someone through a key moment in their life and potentially made it a little easier.”
Are you wanting to celebrate our phenomenal midwives today? Make a donation to our Charity, get fundraising or sign up one of our events today! Every penny you raise helps our midwives to deliver exemplary healthcare and change the lives of patients like Cillian and their families.