A midwife (Josannshi) is a woman licensed by Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, able to provide health guidance for labour and look after pregnant women, postnatal women, and newborns. (Statement from Hokenshi Josannshi Kangofu Hou )
Josannshi must have passed a national examination of midwifery and receive a license from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.
What does the work of Midwives involve?
It is a profession deeply involved in the birth of life. In a birth without complication, midwives are able to assist the labour. We aim to provide assistance from the antenatal period to maximise a woman’s health so that the body’s natural ability is maximised to result in a safe and happy birth experience and a good start to new life.
We support the formation of strong bonds between a parent and child as well as with the rest of the family.
Through our central support and presence during pregnancy, birth and the nursing period of parenting, we hope to be a familiar and reliable presence in the community as a supporter of women’s health throughout her life; including the periods of puberty, and working with menopausal and elderly women.
Where are the midwives?
Currently, the majority of women give birth at a medical institution. Therefore most of us work at the hospitals and Obstetric and Gynaecological Clinics along with the doctors to provide care for pregnancy, birth and the neonatal period.
In our prefecture there are a small number of licensed independent midwives working to provide services at some midwifery clinics and doing home visits.
Some midwives provide services such as antenatal/postnatal home visits and newborn assessments; both are part of the services provided by the municipal government as Health Service for Mother & Child.
There are some who are working within a community to support health of women.
In December 2010, there are 436 working midwives in Fukushima prefecture of which 89.0% works in a medical institution and 5% works in a community.
What kind of place is a midwifery clinic (Josanninn)?
We support women so that they can personally look after themselves. There is no medical practice at midwifery clinics except in the case of an emergency.
There are different types of midwifery clinics; where you can give birth, where breastfeeding support is specialised, where antenatal and postnatal health guidance and/or parenting support as well as youth education is also given. Some midwives will only do home visits.
Whatever the style of midwifery clinic, our work is part of everyday life and we aim to provide personal and friendly support.