'Midwives guarding the future' was the theme of the Nordic Midwifery Congress held 4-6 May this year in Turku, Finland. Over 500 participants from the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden), Estonia, England and Scotland listened to keynote lectures and took part in sessions, workshops and related activities during three inspiring and sunny days in Turku. There is a historic connection between the former Finnish capital Turku and midwifery: Turku is the city where midwifery training in Finland started in 1816.
Prior to the Congress, the annual meeting of the board of the Nordic Midwives' Association (Nordiska Jordemorforbundet--NJF) was held in Turku on 2-3 May. Hildur Kristjansdottir from Iceland was chosen as the new President of the Association. The President of the Nordic Midwives' Association during 2000-2007 was Asta von Frenckell from Finland. She was also the President of the Nordic Midwifery Congress.
The main themes of the Congress were questions concerning medicalisation of childbirth, ethics in midwifery and the aim to move towards evidence-based care. The message of the congress was that skilled midwives are safeguarding the future.
The Congress Scientific Committee received well over 100 abstracts. They were evaluated by using criteria such as: the relevance and topicality of the study for midwifery; how the study was carried out methodologically; the novelty value of the results; the clinical relevance of the results; and the clarity and readability of the abstract.
The final Congress programme included a total of 68 oral presentations in 20 parallel sessions. The themes of the oral presentation sessions varied from 'the professional self-image of midwifery students' through 'the self-monitoring of fetal movements by expectant mothers' to 'father-infant physical contact after a caesarean section'. There was also a poster exhibition of 23 posters with themes varying from 'history of midwifery' to 'experiences in breast-feeding'. Some topics from the oral presentations or from the keynote lectures were further discussed in five workshops. Throughout the Congress, the spirit among the participants was extremely enthusiastic and empowering.
The invited keynote speakers of the congress were Dr Marianne Mead and Professor Shirley R Jones from England, Dr Ann-Kristin Sandin-Bojo from Sweden, and Professor Katri Vehvilainen-Julkunen and PhD-student Johanna Sarlio from Finland.