VIDM 2020 Programme Calendar

All VIDM 2020 Conference sessions and links to the recordings are listed below.

Change the programme view at the top right of the calendar or search at top left – Search CATEGORIES and KEYWORDS (ie. Student Stream and Spanish).

01. KEYNOTE :: Humanising Childbirth: what can midwives do? @ Room 1 - BBB
May 4 @ 22:00 – 22:50
01. KEYNOTE :: Humanising Childbirth: what can midwives do? @ Room 1 - BBB

Speaker: Sheena Byrom

Facilitator: Catherine Salam

Check the time in your location:

It is the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife and we are in the midst of a global pandemic. The world is reeling with the consequences of an unstoppable COVID-19 virus spread with reports of growing morbidities and mortalities each day, yet mothers and their unborn and newborn babies continue to need safe, compassionate maternity care. Whilst most childbearing women and their babies are healthy, they may experience clinical, psychological, and social vulnerabilities (Renfrew et al 2020).

In normal circumstances midwifery is acknowledged as the solution for quality maternal and newborn care (Renfrew et al 2014). In addition, midwives have been identified as having an essential role to play in humanitarian settings due to their position in communities, unique knowledge and skills (Beek et al 2019). However, in some parts of the world midwifery led services are being reduced due to various reasons including shortage of midwives (for various reasons) and lack of appropriate transfer systems.

During times of crisis there are greater risks of avoidable harm (Renfrew et al 2020) and in some countries reports are coming through that unnecessary interventions are being imposed such as Caesarean section deliveries and separation of mothers and babies even though international policy and position statement advice the contrary (ICM 2020, RCOG, WHO 2020). These events are in direct opposition to the increasing global movement to humanise childbirth from international policy to the direct contact we have with mothers, babies and families (Newnham et al 2018; Newnham & Page 2020) and it is our duty to challenge the situation.

At the end of this pandemic we are likely to see significant economic downturn where the most vulnerable will suffer the most. We must remember this and direct our attention to maximise the potential for a positive mother-infant connection during the critical time at birth, and early years.

This session will present the above challenges faced by midwives, mothers and families and offer potential solutions to support midwives in their quest to continue to provide optimal, humanised maternity care.


Recording: HERE

08. KEYNOTE :: Autonomous Midwife-led Continuity Of Care: Evidence-based, Respectful Care Within A Collaborative Model @ Room 1 - BBB
May 5 @ 05:00 – 05:50
08. KEYNOTE :: Autonomous Midwife-led Continuity Of Care: Evidence-based, Respectful Care Within A Collaborative Model @ Room 1 - BBB

Speaker: Vijaya Krishnan

Facilitator: Linda Wylie

Recording: HERE

KEYNOTE: Research over the past few years has focused not only on maternal and infant mortality, but also the quality of the care provided, and respectful maternity care as a human right. Research also tells us that antenatal childbirth preparation, which includes childbirth classes and one-on-one counselling has positive effects on the course of labor and delivery, as well as higher rates of breastfeeding. Studies on outcomes of mothers receiving continuous labor support, tell us that she has a higher chance of vaginal birth, less interventions, less C-sections, better start to breastfeeding, less postpartum depression, and an overall better maternal experience. The WHO currently highly recommends Midwife-Led Continuity-of-Care models, in which a known midwife or small group of known midwives supports a woman throughout her antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal period, as a way to improve at least 50 different short-term and long-term outcomes, as well as provide respectful, safe and satisfying maternity care.

This presentation describes the current state of maternity care in India, with nearly 85-90% C-section rates, and lack of respectful, evidence-based care being the norm. India is also a country where there are both extremes of care “Too little, too late”, and “Too much, too soon”. In such an environment, this presentation aims to tie in the benefits of excellent Autonomous Midwife-Led Continuity of Care, within a Collaborative Model of Care (CMC), with in-house Emergency Infrastructure and Consultants. This is a model which we have honed to near perfection over the last 12 years.  Our statistics serve as a proof of the efficacy of this Model of Care – 92% Natural Birth rate, 90% VBAC rate, 100% VBA2C, Twin Natural Births and many Breech Births – and, these numbers are inclusive of mothers with complex needs like GDM, PIH, etc.

It will describe how this CMC can be replicated, and how any facility with specifically trained, professional and specialist Midwives, can create a Birth Environment similar to The Sanctum Natural Birth Center.


18. KEYNOTE :: The Midwifery Mandate in Global Crises: Leadership, Innovation, and Humility @ Room 1 - BBB
May 5 @ 15:00 – 15:50
18. KEYNOTE :: The Midwifery Mandate in Global Crises: Leadership, Innovation, and Humility @ Room 1 - BBB

Speaker: Saraswathi Vedam

Facilitator: Cecilia Jevitt

Recording: HERE

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Office of High Commissioner of Human Rights have affirmed that freedom from discrimination, harm and mistreatment are human rights and important outcomes (Bohren et al., 2015), and[i] that health systems need to improve measurement and accountability for the experience of childbearing care (Freedman and Kruk). Loss of autonomy, mistreatment, abuse, coercion, and disrespect during pregnancy and facility-based birth before and during the COVID-19 pandemic have been documented by researchers, clinicians, lawyers, governments, and community organizations. Poor treatment due to institutional racism, implicit bias, and lack of access to preferred models of care, can transform health care encounters into human rights violations.  Among families with non-dominant identities, circumstances, or backgrounds, asymmetric and hierarchical power relationships, as well as gender-based violence, these health inequities are exacerbated.

Integration of midwives into health care systems is a key strategy that can improve quality of care (Lancet 2014).  Overall, in high, middle, and low resource settings, those who experienced midwifery care report lower interventions, more respect, and greater autonomy in decision making; but experiences of discrimination and disrespect are still significantly increased among marginalized communities, regardless of type of provider or birth setting.  Indigenous midwifery traditions, and strengths-based community-led rapid response to adverse environments can offer innovative solutions to all midwives.

What is our responsibility as midwives to model self-reflection, leadership, adaptability, collaboration, and accountability for improving equity, access, and respect during reproductive health encounters?  This session will describe emerging research findings on the prevalence and characteristics of respectful maternity care, midwifery strategic leadership, and transdisciplinary initiatives to address the gaps in respectful care for all families – during global crises and beyond.


Birth Place Lab

VIDM 2020 Session 18 Saraswathi Vedam