Zwanger In Brussel puts midwife-assisted deliveries on hold
Brussels, 1 June 2021 – Midwife practice Zwanger in Brussel (ZIB) will only focus on pre- and postnatal checkups, house visits, info sessions and lactation consultations from October 2021 onwards. A structural lack of (experienced) midwives wanting to work in primary care in Brussels, had forced ZIB to pause assisting in deliveries for a minimum of 6 months.
“Our priority has always been to create optimal working conditions for our midwives, because this is a tough job”, says Elke Van Den Bergh, founder of ZIB. “We worked in a team and therefore could divide the night shifts. This is no longer feasible.”
The demand for midwife-led care (both at home and in the hospital) has risen sharply because of the Corona pandemic among other reasons. However, there has not been an equivalent rise in the number of qualified midwives willing to work in this sector in order to meet that growing demand. In the past year, the ZIB-midwives spent on average 15 nights a month on duty in addition to having to perform their normal tasks during the day. The additional workload, and long night shifts, are no longer feasible.
The lack of midwives in primary care is due to several factors that are also apparent in other midwife practices, according to ZIB. During their training, future midwives are hardly exposed to the different aspects of the primary care sector, which makes it less accessible. Secondly, being on stand-by 24/7 requires a lot of energy from a relatively small team.
In addition, there is a lack of recognition and respect for primary care in general, which impacts the statute and the remuneration of midwives. Lastly, finding Dutch-speaking midwives, willing to work in Brussels and prepared to assist births in Dutch, French and English is not easy.
The ZIB midwives realize they have an important role to play in Brussels, moreover because of their good working relationship with hospitals like Saint-Jean. “Our goal is still to give women a sense of trust and power, that will enable them to look back at their delivery in a positive way. To be able to continue doing so, we have to adapt our services”, states associate Arlind Van Winckel.
All couples concerned have been personally informed and guided towards alternative solutions. After the 6 month “pause”, the ZIB-team will assess what services will be offered in the future. The ZIB-midwives strongly encourage all experienced midwives, interested in working in primary care, to contact them.
Maud Vanwalleghem – 0499/29.29.18