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Risk of Untrained Midwives in Childbirth

Allowing untrained and inexperienced midwives to conduct deliveries is akin to inviting disaster.

by TNN Editor - 14 Jun, 2023 1525


Yesterday, I returned home from college feeling exhausted. As I entered the house, I couldn't find my mother. Naturally, the first question that came to my mind was, "Where is mom?" I immediately asked my sister, who informed me that our mother had gone to the village due to a recent death. Hearing this, I grabbed a quick meal and went straight to bed. When I woke up in the evening, my mother had already returned. I sat beside her and inquired about the details of the death in the village.

In response to my question, my mother shared a heart-wrenching incident. She told me about a young girl who had been married for only 14 months. Picture her as a new bride, eagerly expecting her first child. When it was time for her delivery, no family member took her to the hospital. Instead, they relied solely on a family midwife, believing her experience would be sufficient to handle the situation. Everyone believed she could manage the delivery expertly and overlooked the importance of professional medical assistance.

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Unfortunately, the midwife's lack of expertise and absence of proper safety equipment proved disastrous. She was ill-equipped to handle emergencies during childbirth, resulting in the tragic loss of the young girl's life.

I hesitate to call it a mere deficiency or negligence; it was sheer ignorance. Entrusting a midwife, who lacks the medical training and resources of a doctor, to perform a delivery is an unjustifiable risk. Can a midwife possess the same level of knowledge and tools as a doctor? Can she provide the necessary medical interventions and ensure the safety of both mother and child?

Even if a midwife manages to conduct a delivery successfully, the mother may still face various health complications in the future. A midwife cannot provide the comprehensive treatment and care that doctors in a hospital can offer. A midwife's approach is limited to her own experience, which is inadequate and unsafe in many cases.

Furthermore, in the event of an emergency, a midwife is ill-equipped to handle critical situations like a doctor can. They lack the skills, training, and necessary equipment available to doctors. Consequently, both the mother and the baby may face severe risks, including complications or even death.

While it's true that some experienced midwives can provide adequate care during home births, it is crucial to consult a doctor in case of emergencies or procedures like a C-section. Patients should not be left at the mercy of a village midwife in such critical situations.

I want to emphasize that with proper training and access to safety equipment, these midwives can play a significant role in safe deliveries based on their experience. However, allowing untrained and inexperienced midwives to conduct deliveries is akin to inviting disaster.

We must all understand and remember that it is always safer to take patients to the hospital for delivery, where they can receive proper care, ensuring the well-being and lives of both the mother and the baby.

Note: Raynaz, the author of this blog, is a teacher and exam controller at Kipps College in Mardan. She also writes on topics related to gender and social issues.