Gaining Midwifery Experience Overseas

February 8, 2012

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Gap medics student George assisting the midwife on placement in Tanzania Working overseas offers an insightful and invaluable experience for anybody wanting a career in the midwifery profession. Maternity and antenatal care in the United States is some of the best in the world. However, this often means that it is difficult to experience some of the more challenging aspects of midwifery care that is rare in American hospitals. Midwifery abroad offers a very different experience to that of working at home, and the challenges and experiences it throws up can make your application to a future midwifery school really stand out, and also turn you into a more well rounded professional

Midwifery in places such as the Caribbean, Africa, India and Thailand is far removed from midwifery in the United States. Often, facilities are under-resourced, under staffed, and have to deal with problems uncommon back home. Facing challenges such as having little or no pain relief available for expectant mothers in delivery rooms can bring home the importance of midwifery care. In some of these locations, women also have to give birth alone, without support of their partners, making the role of the midwife an even more important one..

Pre-natal screening, while common in the United States is not available to many women in developing countries. This means pregnancies can often be more complicated and the risks attached far higher, and learning to cope with these emotional challenges can help you decide if midwifery is really the career for you. While traumatic, these experiences can arm you to cope better with the challenging scenarios you may have to face at home when qualified.

With so many challenges, helping a new mother give birth to a healthy baby brings its own rewards. In many overseas placements, a midwife can make all the difference in helping mother’s achieve a successful birth. This provides unrivalled job satisfaction when you witness a healthy baby being brought into the world in an area where Infant mortality and deaths in childbirth are far more common than in the United States.

Midwifery can also be challenging outside the delivery suite. Attitudes to contraception and gynecology vary greatly around the world, and a midwife may have to adopt skills and practices to meet the demands of the location. Overseas work experience offers knowledge, experience and skills that can’t be picked up from books. You’ll learn hands-on, just how important the role of the midwife is, and have the satisfaction of helping some of the poorest people in the world.

Working abroad offers other advantages too. Experiencing new cultures, not only makes you a more rounded profession, but also widens your life experiences as a whole. An overseas midwifery placement lets you sample different cultures and a way of life far removed to that back home. A work placement abroad can also provide life-long memories that you can cherish for years to come. Furthermore, when it comes to applying for a midwifery school back home, the experiences, challenges and skills picked up on your overseas placement will make your application far more likely to succeed.