Celebrating the extraordinary role of midwives

International Day of the Midwife is celebrated on 5 May each year. It’s an opportunity to recognise the incredible role of midwives in the lives of mothers and babies.

Over 6,500 babies are born across South Eastern Sydney Local Health District each year. Our dedicated teams of midwives provide expert care for mothers and their babies during pregnancy, birth and those extraordinary first few weeks of life. 

Sarah Whelan provides postnatal care as a midwife at the Royal Hospital for Women. She’s one of 497 midwives across the district. We sat down with Sarah to find out what it’s really like to be a midwife. 

Empowering new parents through tailored care 

“A typical day for me as a midwife begins at 7am when I meet the women and families I’ll be caring for. On any given shift, I’ll generally be looking after five or six women and their new babies.  

“We aim to tailor our care to each family’s needs. For first-time parents in particular, those first few days can be a steep learning curve. As a midwife, it’s my role to help to empower new mums and dads as they transition into their roles as parents. I provide education about caring for themselves and their new baby. I could be assisting with feeding, settling and encouraging secure attachment theory. 

“As wonderful as becoming a parent is, it can also be a stressful and overwhelming time so to help, I provide emotional support and guidance throughout the day, addressing any concerns parents may have, whether physical or emotional, in collaboration with the rest of the healthcare team. 

“And our support doesn’t end at discharge from hospital. We continue to check in on mums and their babies with regular visits at home in the early weeks after discharge.” 

Witnessing transformative moments 

“I feel privileged to support and empower families during one of the most transformative times in their lives. Witnessing the joy of new parents as they welcome their baby into the world and guiding them through the early parenthood journey brings me an immense sense of fulfillment. Being able to make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of both the mother and family is incredibly rewarding. As well as forming meaningful connections with families, being a trusted source of support and information is a privilege that I cherish deeply. 

“At the Royal Hospital for Women, all our dedicated midwives, doctors and other healthcare professionals share a common goal of providing the best care for women. I feel fortunate to be part of this inspiring and supportive work environment.” 

Midwife Sarah Whelan with mum and baby