What Qualities Do You Need To Become A Midwife?

June 18, 2013

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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There’s nothing as joyous and satisfying as helping to bring a new life into this world, and as a midwife that’s exactly what you will be doing. A midwife is a trained healthcare professional who helps to deliver babies in different kinds of settings, including hospitals, birthing centres and patients’ homes. Midwives also provide women with pre-natal and post-partum care and many also provide routine gynaecological care.

Midwifery students on their work experience placement in the neonatal unit in Thailand. Midwives are required to have a wide range of medical as well as non-medical skills

Medical Training & Expertise: As a midwife you will be responsible for monitoring the mother-to-be right through her pregnancy to after childbirth. You will have to pay close attention to the mother’s vital signs, monitor foetal heart rate, and assess the position of the baby as well as the mother’s health. You also have to look out for any complications that may arise and provide the necessary treatment if they do. When required, you may need to perform episiotomies and suture tears, post delivery. Certified nurse-midwives can also prescribe drugs when required. For all of these responsibilities you need to have a certain amount of medical training and expertise.

Communication Skills: Possessing good communication skills is very important if you are to become a midwife. You should be able to understand the desires and concerns of the parents as well as educate them about the pregnancy and childbirth. You will need to communicate with other healthcare professionals such as nurses and doctors if the mother has decided to give birth in a hospital setting. If the birth occurs at home, you will need to communicate with emergency medical technicians too. Aside from good verbal communication skills, you should also have good written communication skills as you will have to maintain medical charts for patients.

Flexibility: Being flexible with work timings is crucial. Babies often choose the most inconvenient of times to be born, right in the middle of the World Cup Finals, in the dead of night or when you are heading out for a quiet weekend in the countryside. If you are planning to become a midwife, throw all thought of schedules out the window. Don’t forget, some births may take several hours and you will be required to stay right through till the baby is born.

Keeping Cool in Emergency Situations: Though most low-risk births sail smoothly, emergencies can and do occur. Midwives need to maintain a state of calm in emergencies so that the mother and baby are dealt with as carefully yet efficiently as possible. You will have to be able to respond fast and reassure worried parents to the best of your ability.

Team Spirit: It is important that you communicate well with the rest of the team of healthcare professionals. Functioning seamlessly as part of a team in stressful situations such as these is critical to the role. Midwives should be able to manage their stress levels and it should not interfere with the role in any way.

Fast Thinking: Emergencies can arise when you are least expecting it. As a midwife you should be able to think on your feet. An uneventful birth can turn into a life-threatening emergency within a matter of minutes. Quick and appropriate responses are a must at times like this.

The delivery unit in Tanzania Being a midwife is not a walk in the park. It is a challenging role and one that is full of responsibility but the sheer joy of seeing a baby born is incomparable and will make everything seem so worthwhile knowing that you helped to do that.

Gap Medics offer Pre-Midwifery programs all year round to aspiring midwives, and taking part could really increase your chances of going on to study this amazing profession. Take a look at our Pre-Midwifery placements here.