Midwives have played an invaluable role in women's health for over 2000 years, with references to midwives even included in the Bible. As support for the profession grew, and training became formalised over time, the medical skills of midwives have grown significantly. Skilled midwives now have the training, knowledge and potential to provide expert advice to pregnant women about their health and the health of their child — both during and after pregnancy. This year is one of great importance for the international community as we make the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This pivotal year for international development is also crucial for the direction of midwifery, as I firmly believe that midwives will play a key role in the achievement of SDG 3 — to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.