Last Day ICM: Overcoming difficulties and pushing forward

The last day of the congress and I want to reflect on how despite the difficulties that midwives have to work in they grow from strength-to-strength by finding ways to overcome these difficulties. Yesterday my blog focussed on the terrible suffering of FGM but today my first thoughts are on overcoming the distresss caused by difficulties that midwives sometimes endure in their work.

On Wednesday Sally Pezaro from Coventry University presented her work on midwive’s workplace distress. Midwifery is highly emotional and sensitive work and yet we often work in high stress environments. Sadly fear and bullying can also be a problem in our profession. Sally reminded us that fearful, stressed midwives do not provide best care and suffer from poor physical and mental health. She proposes an online intervention for midwives experiencing workplace distress. A one-stop-shop where midwives can gain support at any time, wherever they are. Her PhD research project has been testing the feasibility for such an intervention.

Midwives throughout the world are finding ways to overcome women’s  sufferring. On our last ICM morning there were many presentations and workshop including sessions on: Tackling gender barriers to education fo females in Ethiopia, Promoting autonomous, family centred care in a over medicalised environment in Switzerland, addressing women’s rights in Rwanda and caring for pregnant women who are displaced or seeking asylum.

And so to our closing ceremony. Once again a moving and powerful occasion. All 4200 of us came together again to reflect on this inspirational 31st ICM Triennial Congress hosted by The Canadian Midwives Association, which by any standards has been a huge success. The retiring ICM President Francis Day-Stirk handed over to the the new incoming President Franka Cadee.

We thanked the Canadian Midwives Association for their excellent hosting and were addressed by The Malaysian Midwives Association President and members, in national dress, who invited us all to attend the 32nd ICM Triennial Conference which they will host in Bali in 2020.

Our new ICM President reminded us that most of the problems in maternity care throughout the world relate to care being too little too late or too much too soon.. She emphasised that throughout the world midwives make a difference to women and their families and represent a low risk, high yield investment in maternity care.  Therefore all women in all countries should be able to access midwifery care.  Finally to enthusiastic applause she said:

We are midwives, we know when to breath and when to push,  and it’s time to push!

As we leave Toronto there were many heartfelt goodbyes, some exchanging contact details and many photos!

Midwives from Peru and Brazil leaving

Goodbye Toronto. 

Stay connected

You can keep in touch and find out about my midwifery interests and research at

email me 

Follow me on Twitter @ Dianethemidwife​​


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