Midwives are highly trained nurses who specialise in providing the necessary care to pregnant women during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period. They also provide care for the newborn, while their services are essential to reducing maternal deaths and making childbirth safer.
Duties and responsibilities
- Run health checks on expecting and new parents
- Provide education training on breastfeeding
- Assess pregnancy requirements and write care plans
- Examine and monitor the development of the baby
- Administer any medication, injections or anaesthesia
- Provide emotional support to new parents
- Undertake antenatal care in hospitals
- Calm mothers during the birthing process
- Look out for any complications during labour
- Prepare mothers for the birth of their child
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
On call for emergencies
Most midwives work in hospitals and private clinics. Others work in classrooms and medical centres.
You may be required to travel to patients’ homes to offer labour and antenatal care. This may involve lots of equipment, which will need to be transported to the place of birth.
The work can be physically and emotionally demanding at times, as you’ll be required to work unpredictable hours. However, being able to help bring a new life into the world can be very rewarding.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
To become a midwife, you’ll generally need to enrol in an associate or bachelor’s programme in nursing at an accredited school of medicine, which typically takes four years to complete. A bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) is typically preferred.
Once you’ve successfully completed your degree, you’ll need to get your registered nurse (RN) state licence, before enrolling in a midwifery programme (either a two-year master’s programme or a four-year doctorate programme) accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). You’ll need at least one year of experience working as an RN in order to be accepted on a midwifery programme.
Finally, you’ll need to register with the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB), which includes a 4-hour, 175-question multiple choice exam.
With experience, you could move into a management role such as a ward manager or an education roles such as a midwifery lecturer. You could also specialise in a certain type of birth, while you could also set up your own practice.
A doctoral degree, meanwhile, may be helpful in advancing your career.