Shadowing a DoctorAugust 16, 2012
Midwifery can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying careers in medicine. Many midwives feel privileged to do the work they do, and while the job does come with many rewards, life as a midwife can also be challenging. Midwives are very busy. For every baby born, a midwife will have been involved, not just during the actual birth, but also helping women prepare for childbirth and even post-natally, providing care for new mothers and their babies.
Midwives don’t just work in the antenatal, delivery and post natal units at hospitals, but they also work in the community and out of GP surgeries and health centres. Midwives need to be highly trained, and are often educated to degree level. Some midwives may have worked as nurses previously but they still have to undergo midwifery training. All midwives have to be registered, and in the UK, they work within the boundaries of The Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Working as a midwife
While the qualifications and experience required to become a midwife involve a lot of hard work, in terms of job satisfaction, working as a midwife is very rewarding. Midwives are responsible for looking after mothers and their unborn babies, but they are also the people who bring children into the world. This means that midwives develop very close and personal relationships with patients. Furthermore, because many midwives deliver babies, the job brings plenty of responsibilities too.
A midwife’s involvement with a patient starts at the very early stages of pregnancy. By evaluating individual patients, monitoring and developing their care plans, midwives provide a crucial and pivotal role during the pregnancy process. This prenatal work can vary from individual to individual and midwives need to ensure each patient is getting the right care for her needs.
While for most people, pregnancy and childbirth are joyous experiences, this is not always the case. Some women may face the unfortunate experience of a miscarriage, or may have to make difficult decisions the pregnancy, such as after an unborn baby has been diagnosed with a neonatal abnormality. During these difficult times, midwives offer support, counselling and advice, which can be a difficult experience for both the mother and the midwife.
During some deliveries, complications can occur and midwives have the responsibility to monitor the birth and ensure the right health professionals are on hand. This can also be a very trying experience for the mother, and midwives need to provide comfort and help keep them informed of the process.
Perhaps the most rewarding experience for any midwife is seeing a healthy baby born to the world. Some labours can go on for many hours and involve several midwives, while others may involve just the one midwife who will assist the mother during labour, monitor the process, and eventually help deliver the baby.
For many midwives, this is the most satisfying aspect of the job, but the role of the midwife doesn’t stop there. Midwives also provide support during the early stages of a baby’s life, offering advice to the mother on breastfeeding, bathing, making up feeds, and monitoring the baby’s weight and progress during the first few months.