In 2016, midwifery was inscribed in Germany’s national register of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
In March 2018, on the recommendation of an independent commission of experts, the German Commission for UNESCO decided to nominate midwifery as Intangible Cultural Heritage for the international UNESCO list.
A working group (see About us) has been formed to complete the complex nomination application and to produce a documentary film necessary for submission.
The kick-off Movie, to invite other countries to join the project, was premiered on the 28th of January 2021.
Midwifery colleagues from around the world will be involved in the application in order to reflect both the global significance and diversity of the profession.
The application is expected to be officially submitted in March 2021, with a decision on its acceptance made by the end of 2022.
"(...) 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.
The nomination application is a joint project involving close cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO.
Those currently involved are:
Lisa von Reiche