Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Midwifery (งานหมอตำแย) is one of the specializations of Traditional medicine of Thailand which is sometimes even considered to be the 6th aspect of medicine. It is exclusive to women as holders of this tradition. This knowledge and these skills are usually transmitted from mother to daughter throughout a lifetime. In the West these women are usually known as „Doula“ – someone who’s assisting a delivery of a child. However, midwife in Thailand is much more than a midwife in the West. She is a doctor of Traditional medicine. These are the women who are giving medical, psychological and emotional support to other women in one of the most difficult and challenging experiences a woman can go through, that is – giving new life. Midwives are next to mothers from the moment of conception, throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum recovery. Literally, they are healers and caregivers helping human beings to come to this world. If we look at the vast scope of Thai medical knowledge, midwives are probably the ones who have to encompass the most of it. First, they have to administer complete prenatal care – to give proper dietary instructions to mother, according to her constitution and condition, to observe the growth of the baby, to know how to move the baby in the womb, how to treat the mother if she catches up a disease, to know how to prepare different kind of herbal remedies and how to give massage in the middle and late pregnancy. Then they’re assisting in actual childbirth – taking all the precautions to avoid any risk of infection, helping the delivery and knowing how to react if the delivery goes wrong, following all the procedures which would make the newborn safe. Immediately after childbirth, comes postpartum recovery, which consists of numerous physical therapies and herbal remedies. The midwife checks if the whole placenta is delivered. She instructs mother how to breastfeed. Mothers are usually treated with different kind of warming therapies, to dry the body of excess water. These therapies, together with massage in the following months, help the organs to recover and regain their original shape and location, especially the womb. The midwife also takes care of the baby’s health until the mother fully recovers.
This process requires a midwife to master an enormous body of knowledge and have a lot of experience in almost all aspects of Traditional medicine. She has to be skilled in physical therapies, herbal medicine, spirit medicine, astrology, psychology and so on... All this makes midwifery one of the most demanding specializations one can dedicate to in Traditional medicine of Thailand.