Almost 500 midwives came together in Reykjavik, Iceland, for me congress of the Nordic Midwives' Association, 20-22 May 2004.
The Nordic Midwives' Association ('NJF') was founded in 1950 on the initiative of the Swedish Midwives' Association. The purpose of the organisation was, and is still, to exchange among the member states experience of midwifery education, of the organisation of midwifery care and of the scope of practice of midwives in the Nordic countries. It was decided that NJF should hold a congress for members at least every fourth year, hosted in turn by the member states, counting Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
Expansion of Nordic boundaries?
At the annual steering committee meetings, reports are given on the work and progress of the ICM and the EMA (European Midwives' Association). Taking into consideration the recent expansion of the European Union, thoughts have been given to enlarging the NJF by offering membership to midwifery associations in the Baltic countries, which are now members of the EU. Language issues stand in the way of this decision, as the working language in the steering group and--till recently also in the congresses--is our common 'scandinavian': all of us can understand each other's languages by bending and meeting a little.
Issues for debate
At the steering committee meeting before the congress in Iceland, the following issues were debated:
* Ultrasound scanning of pregnant women. Are the women sufficiently informed about the procedure? How do we ensure that future parents have enough knowledge to choose whether or not to accept the offer of a scan? Should we define ultrasound scanning in week 17-18 as antenatal diagnostics?
* The increased medicalisation of birth with special focus on the rise of the numbers of Caesarean sections (CS) because of maternal request. How do midwives gain political and professional impact in this question?
* Introducing commercial products to parents via midwives. The steering committee decided to work on a Nordic version of the ICM's International Code of Ethics for Midwives for commercial products.
* The steering committee decided to support a project: "Going South" in co-operation with the Nordic Association of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians ('NFOG'). The object is to strengthen the efforts within reproductive health in developing countries through joint projects of education of midwives and other skilled attendants.
'For midwives, by...