Not only do midwives deliver babies, today they also consult women of all ages on matters related to health. Midwives are reliable partners to gynaecologists, paediatricians and family physicians.
East Tallinn Central Hospital Women’s Clinic midwife Annika Hommik also works at Jürgenson Family Medicine Centre, where she partners with family physicians on matters related to female health. She sees patients with so-called lady issues. “I help women at all stages of life. Patients turn to me with all kinds of different concerns such as contraceptives, pregnancy, gynaecology issues, menopause, etc.”
For Annika, the work of a midwife is versatile enough to ensure there is never a dull moment. Her work as a midwife in the Maternity Counselling Centre involves counselling pregnant women and supporting women after birth. “In my day-to-day work I monitor pregnancies and support expecting mothers. I also provide counselling on other health related issues: I counsel young people, conduct cervical cancer screenings, and handle concerns related to breast health and breastfeeding counselling. I have made a conscious effort to try and keep my work quite versatile. This way I can maintain competence and adaptability and avoid routine. For the most part, my work involves positive emotions,” Annika say.
According to Dr Le Vallikivi, head of the Estonian Society of Family Doctors and a family physician at Jürgenson Family Medicine Centre, the centre has worked with the East Tallinn Central Hospital’s midwife for close to two years now and they feel immense gratitude for this opportunity. “Our patients of course are very happy about this, especially young mothers who appreciate being able to come to the family medicine centre to monitor their pregnancy, bring their newborn in for medical examinations or visit a midwife after birth, receive breastfeeding counselling if necessary or plan for future new family members.”
Even women who were formerly of the opinion that womanhood comes to an end with menopause can turn to a midwife working in a family medicine centre. Midwives address female issues for everyone from young girls to elderly women.
According to Dr Vallikivi, everyone working at the family medicine centre is happy to have a team member who is highly competent and valued and available to discuss complex cases and answer specific questions. “Prevention plays an important part in the work of a midwife, same as for family physicians and nurses. By taking collective action in the first line of healthcare, we will certainly be able to make cancer screenings more accessible, specifically cervical cancer screenings, the attendance levels of which have been a problem for decades,” says Dr Vallikivi.
Midwife Annika feels she is able to provide the best help possible by working in a family medicine centre. “Because of my connections to a large hospital, I can work with family physicians to refer patients for further testing, e.g. for breast cancer, pregnancy ultrasounds, gynaecology appointments for malignant women’s diseases, etc. If a woman turns to me with a health concern, I can find the best solution for her issue.”
International Midwives’ Day is celebrated on 5 May. “A big thank you and my deepest respect to all midwives,” says Dr Le Vallikivi, who represents family physicians.