History of Midwifery in Nigeria: Where we’ve come

In this article, you will read about the history of midwifery in Nigeria. Midwifery is the practice of providing care to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. It is a profession that has a long history dating back to ancient civilizations.

History of Midwifery in Nigeria

Midwifery is an ancient profession that dates back to the dawn of time. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, where midwives were hired to assist women during childbirth.

The word “midwife” comes from the Old English word for “with woman,” and it refers to the traditional role of helping a woman physically and emotionally while she is giving birth.

Who was the first midwife in Nigeria

The first known registered nurse-midwife working within a hospital setting was Mrs. Grace Olayemi Adeboyejo, who began her career at University College Hospital Ibadan (UCH) in 1968, making her one of Nigeria’s pioneering nurse-midwives! Since then, UCH has gone on to become one of Africa’s leading teaching institutions for aspiring nursing professionals specializing in obstetric services, including those interested in pursuing a degree/diploma/certificate program related to Midwifery Practice & Education Programmes (MPEP).

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This program provides students with comprehensive training on all aspects relating to maternity care, including antenatal period management & postpartum follow-up – enabling them to develop the skills necessary to provide quality evidence-based clinical practice within their communities. 

Overall, it is clear why history has continued to recognize the importance of professionalized midwives, both locally and globally: they play a critical role in ensuring safe motherhood by providing well-informed, compassionate, supportive, and skilled care to mothers throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and beyond.

History Continued

READ ASLO: Everything you need to know about Midwifery

 In recent decades, there has been much research conducted regarding how modern-day midwifery can help reduce infant mortality rates, especially among low-income communities, due to its focus on a holistic approach when it comes to providing prenatal education along with offering emotional support throughout the entire duration of a woman’s pregnancy journey, all the way up until she gives birth and her baby is welcomed safely into the world without any complications whatsoever.

This type of model of primary maternity healthcare has proven successful in many parts of the globe, leading to a reduction in neonatal deaths, an increase in breastfeeding rates, improved access to antenatal services, better management of preterm births, etc., and making a big difference in the lives of countless families everywhere.

Midwifery then vs now

Here’s a quick look at midwifery back then and now:

THEN:

  • Midwifery was frequently practiced by women who had learned the skills informally through apprenticeship or their own birth experiences.
  • Midwives were frequently the only healthcare providers available to women, particularly in remote or rural areas.
  • Midwives were frequently regarded as second-rate healthcare providers, with their skills
  • and knowledge not always respected or acknowledged by the medical community.
  • Midwives frequently used traditional remedies and practices to care for women during their pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.

NOW:

  • Midwifery is now a recognized profession, requiring specific education and training.
  • Midwives are regulated by professional organizations and must have a professional license to practice.
  • Midwives can be found in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and private practice.
  • Midwives provide care to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period using evidence-based practices and techniques.
  • Midwives provide important support and guidance to expectant mothers and play an important role in the healthcare system.
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