Midwives give care and support to pregnant women and people before, during, and after childbirth.Job Category:
What you will do:
You’ll look after pregnant people around the time of childbirth.
Your day-to-day tasks could include:
For patients before labour:
- giving pregnant women and people advice on issues like healthy eating
- explaining options like giving birth in hospital or at home
- running classes about pregnancy (antenatal) and parenting
- checking the health of baby and mother/birthing parent during pregnancy
For patients during labour:
- checking how labour is progressing
- monitoring the baby during labour
- giving pain relief or advise on ways to manage pain
- delivering the baby
- calling a doctor if you notice any problems
For patients after the birth of the child
- giving advice to families on caring for their baby.
- visiting people’s homes to check on the mother/birthing parent and baby.
- knowledge of medicine and neonatal care
- knowledge of psychology
As well as
- customer service skills
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations (adaptability)
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
You’ll need to do a degree in midwifery. You might need to pass exams at the end of your education, depending on the country you live in (you need to do this in the US, for example).
There are also professional courses and apprenticeships you can do, but these are a less common and employers tend to prefer to employ people who have a degree in the field – thought it might be possible to get hired as a midwife after your course and then get a degree as you work.
You can also start out as a nurse and complete further training later on in your career to become a midwife.
In many countries, you’ll need to be registered with the relevant nursing and midwifery professional body, you are likely to need criminal or security clearance too.
Working Hours and Environment:
You’ll work around 37 hours a week, including evening, weekend and night shifts.
You could work for the public health sector, the private health sector, or both.
You could work in hospital maternity units, GP surgeries, midwife units and birth centres, and you might also visit patients in their homes.
The job is physically and emotionally demanding.
Career Path & Progression:
In the UK, you need to renew your Nursing & Midwifery Council registration every 3 years to show you’re keeping your skills up to date.
You could take further training to specialise in areas like ultrasound or neonatal care.
With experience, you could become a ward manager or team leader.
With further training, you could become a health visitor, a director of midwifery or midwifery consultant.