Newborn Care in the Context of a Developing Country

In my first and second articles in this series, I mentioned that in Thailand, they have an expression that translates in English to “same same but different.” As is true with pregnancy and labor and delivery, so it is true of caring for the newborn, as well. There are unique aspects to newborn care in a low-resource setting and, while many elements of caring for a newborn baby in the six weeks following birth are universal, the midwife needs to be aware of how best practices can be different according to the setting. The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has created global standards, competencies, and guidelines to ensure that midwives in all countries have effective education and skills (ICM 2018). When working in developing countries where newborn mortality is high in the neonatal period, the midwife should possess advanced skills and be humble about the high-risk population in which she may find herself. Business as usual will not be adequate or even ethical in these situations.
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About Author: Vicki Penwell

Vicki Penwell, LM, CPM, MSM, MA, has provided clinical maternity care for decades in low-resource, high-mortality countries and regularly teaches on midwifery best practice, dividing her time between living in the USA and the Philippines. She is the founder and Executive Director of Mercy In Action, a global NGO sponsoring birth centers in the Philippines, and Mercy In Action College of Midwifery, a MEAC-accredited school in the USA that promotes a global perspective on the provision of maternity care. Through the college, Mercy In Action offers many accredited CEU courses for practicing midwives, as well as offering a post-graduate diploma in midwifery & maternal/child health. Vicki has earned a master’s degree in midwifery and another master’s degree in intercultural studies. She is married to Scott, her husband of 42 years, and together they have raised three “Third Culture Kids” and now have two daughters-in-law and five second-generation TCK grandkids. Among their descendants are three CPMs, one MD, and one in medical school now; they all work for or volunteer with Mercy In Action in some capacity!

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