Midwives Are Essential to Global Health

By Jerker Liljestrand, Senior Program Officer of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Midwives have supported women during childbirth since ancient Egyptian times, and today, in many parts of the world, they are providing a unique set of lifesaving services for mothers and babies. Midwives are trained with a focus on supporting natural births and thus are distinctively positioned to provide respectful, high-quality care that places women and newborns at the center. Research has shown that women who have access to a midwife experience less preterm births, fewer interventions during labor and shorter hospital stays.

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