Are you expecting parents wondering “what does a midwife do?” Katherine is a midwife on the Matilda maternity team, and a mum herself of a seven-year-old boy. She tells us about some of the key aspects of a midwife’s role and about her job at Matilda International Hospital.
Why did you choose to become a midwife?
As a registered nurse in my early career, I encountered many life-and-death situations. These experiences prompted me to think more about getting involved with the beginning of life.
What training is required?
The midwifery training programme includes both a theoretical and a clinical component. These are designed to equip students with the knowledge, attitude and skills they need to provide quality, woman-centred midwifery care to the woman and her family.
Does a mum-to-be “choose” a midwife in HK, or is it prearranged, for example through their obstetrician?
In a private hospital like Matilda, the midwife is usually arranged based on the duty roster. However, since establishing a good rapport with clients is important, we often offer one-on-one midwifery care, from the antenatal to postnatal period. This allows us to really understand the client’s needs and be able to provide personalised care to them.
How would you describe a midwife’s role?
Midwives are responsible and accountable professionals who work in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice throughout the whole journey to parenthood. This also includes the responsibility of conducting a birth, and providing care for a newborn and infant. We’re also equipped to take preventative measures as well as detecting complications in mother or infant. If an emergency situation occurs, we must be competent in providing necessary medical care and support.
What about in the postnatal period; what’s your role then?
With postnatal care, our aim is to facilitate the early initiation of skin-to-skin contact immediately after delivery. We then continue to promote this while assessing the baby. Around six to eight weeks after birth, new mothers need to adjust to profound physiological, psychological and social changes. A midwife’s role during this time is to provide the opportunity for them to make informed decisions about the care and any treatment needed for themselves and baby.
Specifically, the community midwife team at Matilda visits mothers postnatally to check that they are physically recovering well, and to check on the wound. We also assess and advise on breastfeeding and general care of the baby. Breastfeeding tends to be the biggest challenge for new mums in the postnatal period.
Do you give advice on things like nutrition?
We always remind new mums how to maintain a well-balanced diet during pregnancy and the lactation period. But if someone wants particular advice on nutrition, we would suggest they consult with our dietitian.
Has the nature of midwifery changed over the years?
As the Position Statement of the International Confederation of Midwives makes clear, today’s midwives are required to be equipped with the knowledge, skills and professional attitude needed to provide assessment and intervention and make referrals when necessary. They have to be committed to maintaining women’s privacy in all circumstances. They also have a responsibility to maintain a clear, accurate and timely documentation of maternity records.
What’s the best or most rewarding part of the job?
Seeing a big smile on the face of new parents!
What do you like doing in Hong Kong when you’re not working?
Cooking and having fun with my family.
Find out more about Matilda’s maternity services at here.
- Matilda International Hospital: 41 Mount Kellett Road, The Peak
- Matilda Medical Centre: 3/F, Prosperity Tower, 39 Queen’s Road Central, Central
This article first appeared in the Summer 2023 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.