After 4 years of work, at the end of March 2022, an international working group of midwives and staff* of the respective government agencies or UNESCO National Commissions completed and submitted the application for the inclusion of midwifery in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
For this purpose, the logo was updated with the mention of all participating nations: Colombia, Cyprus, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Slovenia and Togo are part of the nomination and support the global importance of protecting and preserving midwifery and its practices in its diversity.
Midwives provide continuity of care and individualized support for improved outcomes during the natural processes of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum (the period after childbirth), using and combining evidence-based research, empirical and traditional knowledge, and intuition.
A decision by UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee in Paris on this application is not expected until late 2023 at the earliest. If added to the list, other nations may join and express the importance of midwifery in their country and worldwide.
We are happy to provide references to projects and events taking place around the world on midwifery here. Please send us your details.
In March 2018, an independent expert commission recommended midwifery and subsequently the German UNESCO Commission decided to nominate midwifery as Intangible Cultural Heritage for the international UNESCO list.
"(...) midwives (...) do very valuable work every day. Their knowledge and far-reaching skills are essential for births in this country, but also in many other parts of the world".
Initial understanding and basis for a multinational nomination for the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity are 15 items, that can be read here.
All over the world, experienced women assist other women in pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. Midwives have fundamental medical, anatomical and obstetrical knowledge, which has been passed down from midwife to midwife for generations.
Midwives provide care for expectant mothers from the beginning of pregnancy to the end of breastfeeding. This can be up to two years or more. During pregnancy, midwives perform or arrange for preventive medical check-ups, support mothers in dealing with health problems, and advise on their choice of birthplace. On the basis of tactile findings, they record, among other things, the size, position and vitality of the child. With the aid of an ear trumpet they can detect the heartbeat of the child.
A midwife is responsible for assessing the condition of the woman, the child and the course of the birth, and decides whether it is necessary to consult a doctor if complications arise. After the birth, she checks the regression of the uterus, monitors the child's development and offers instructions for breast or bottle feeding. She supports families during the transition to a new phase of life. Unfortunately, overwork and high liability risks in Germany today sometimes lead to difficult working conditions for midwives.
Lisa von Reiche
+49 (0)177 757 25720
We would like to thank you for your support of the project!