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Birth practitioners need more education about complimentary professions, says midwife

Kathy Fray
Photo: Kathy Fray
Ensuring all professions involved in the care of pregnant women and new mothers are connected became a passion for midwife, Kathy Fray, who launched the International Integrative Maternity Health Care Organisation in a bit to bring these professions together.

“I have always had a strong passion for naturopathic healing and wellness therapies of all modalities,” says Ms Fray, a bestselling author of maternity and motherhood books.

“The idea of IIMHCO was developed simply out of sheer frustration that nothing of its kind existed already.

“We are the global thought-leaders on Perinatal Integrative Medicine.”

In other words, holistic integrative maternity healthcare.

Ms Fray says bringing these professions together is critical because each brings their own separate skills, that combined can provide more complete care.
“The Obstetrician with their medical and surgical skills for managing complex pregnancy and childbirth complications.

“The Midwife with their medical yet holistic practical knowledge and skills as the expert specialists of normal.

“The Paediatrician with their immense specialist expertise regarding the neonate (newborn).

“The naturopathic clinicians with their broad specialties on supportive wellness and complementary healthcare.”

Ms Fray identified a need for A global umbrella organization where this integration of maternity (maternal/foetal/neonatal) healthcare wisdom could be shared within this multidisciplinary environment.

“Plus, women themselves - our clients and patients - want holistic care that incorporates both the allopathic and naturopathic.”

According to Ms Fray, Integrative Maternity HealthCare is simply the maternity division of general Integrative HealthCare, because although most pregnant women are not unhealthy, they are also not of their normal health.

“Integrative Maternity HealthCare is also termed Perinatal Integrative Medicine - and both terms were first coined by IIMHCO, because prior to its existence, there was no term for integrative healthcare medicine during the maternity journey.”

Ms Fray’s was a passion born later in life, having been in the travel industry for two decades before having her first child.

“At the birth of our first baby I thought the job of a Midwife was pretty amazing, seeing brand new human beings arrive into this world.

“After the birth of our second baby, I thought ‘wow!’

“It is truly amazing what midwives do, such an honour to attend the sacred moment of a person's birth, and a mother giving birth. An incredible role.

“During the pregnancy of our third baby, I told friends and family, ‘I know what I want to do when these babies are a bit older - I am going to become a Midwife!’, and I did.”

While Ms Fray didn’t go on to complete a masters or doctorate, choosing instead to launch the IIMHCO, she says she encourages other new midwives to continue their education to provide more options in the future.

“With student midwives in their 20s, I will always plant the seed of them continuing their education.

“I suggest after completing your midwifery undergraduate degree in your 20s, go on to do your midwifery masters in your 30s, and then your midwifery doctorate in your 40s - and that way you will always have enormous options over the lifetime of your midwifery career."

Ms Fray believes it is critical that birth practitioners and naturopathic practitioners are able to openly share their specialist education and clinical experience, free of historic empirical cynicism.

“We all know integrative healthcare is absolutely the way forward, for all divisions of medicine.

“My goal is simply to spread the IIMHCO wisdom further afield internationally.

“We currently have around 7000 followers, mostly Birth Practitioners such as midwives, obstetricians and doulas, and Naturopathic Therapists focusing on maternal/neonatal wellness.

“But that is only a drip-in-the-bucket of the numbers of the maternity healthcare professionals around the world - so the goal is to continue to spread membership so ultimately more wisdom can be shared to the benefit of womankind.”


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Nicole Madigan

Nicole Madigan is a widely published journalist with more than 15 years experience in the media and communications industries.

Specialising in health, business, property and finance, Nicole writes regularly for numerous high-profile newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Before moving into freelance writing almost a decade ago, Nicole was an on-air reporter with Channel Nine and a newspaper journalist with News Limited.

Nicole is also the Director of content and communications agency Stella Communications ( and a children's author.