Midwives Celebrate Centenary of the Midwives Act in Ireland

06/02/2018

Midwives Celebrate Centenary of the Midwives Act in IrelandThe Western Trust are delighted to support the Centenary Celebration event hosted by the Chairman of Fermanagh & Omagh District Council, Councillor Stephen McCann, today (6 February 2018) at the Townhall, Enniskillen in honour of Northern Ireland’s Royal College of Midwives (RCM) to celebrate the 100th year of the Midwives Act in Ireland.

Midwifery became legally recognised in Britain in 1902 and the first Midwives Act in Ireland, was established in 1918, followed by a series of United Kingdom (UK) Midwives Acts in 1926 and 1936. This provided legislation to ensure that qualified midwives could attend births and these ‘Acts’ were the birth of a regulated profession and establishment of standards for education and training.

Midwifery is a profession providing care for women in pregnancy and childbirth and has played a significant role through history. “It is generally recognised that the midwife has been with us since biblical times and that midwifery is the oldest female occupation and without doubt one of the most important.” (Marland, 1993)

During 2018, the RCM in Northern Ireland will be celebrating 100 years since the Midwives (Ireland) Act, recognising how midwifery practice has developed and improved.

Speaking at the reception, Councillor McCann said “I am honoured and delighted to be afforded the opportunity to host this reception this morning on this auspicious occasion in the history of the Royal College of Midwives. Speaking from  personal experience as a parent, I appreciated the professionalism and compassion of midwives in the manner in which they deal with expectant parents before, during and after childbirth particularly first time parents who are venturing very much into the unknown.”

Local RCM Western Trust Steward and midwife at the South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen, Brenda McCabe, said: “I am delighted to welcome former, current and future maternity staff from the across the Western Trust to this wonderful celebration event today. I would like to thank the Chairman of Fermanagh & Omagh Council for hosting this special event in recognition of the massive contribution midwives have made to the care and support of pregnant women and their babies in the local community throughout the past 100 years.”

Brenda continued: “It is wonderful to see so many former, current and student midwives here today to reminisce and celebrate this incredible milestone in the history of maternity care provided across the Western Trust area.  I would like to pay tribute to former and current staff for their compassion and dedication in providing excellent maternity care not only during the birth of a child but throughout the woman’s pregnancy and antenatal care. We look forward to continuing to contribute to their legacy in providing first class maternity services for the next generation of parents and beyond!”

Those attending were able to browse displays of memorabilia over the years in relation to maternity practises throughout the past ten decades, stories by mothers and midwives, pictures over the years and a reunion and union of friendships. There were also displays from current support groups in the local area who provide complementary maternity services including Sure Start, Human Milk Bank and Breastfeeding Support Groups.