Shadowing a DoctorSeptember 3, 2014
Being a midwife entails much more responsibility than just being present at the time of birth and delivering babies. As a qualified midwife, you would be involved in counselling expectant mothers, in antenatal and postnatal care, in offering education and support to new mothers and helping the whole family prepare for parenthood.
Most midwives describe their job as privileged. They consider it an honour to play such a vital role in preparing women for the delivery of new life, from conception through to all stages of pregnancy, labour and the early postnatal period. In addition to the immense personal satisfaction that this role offers, midwifery also offers tremendous scope for professional development and accomplishment.
Essential skills required for midwives
Considering the nature of the job, there are a range of vital skills and knowledge that every midwife should have:
- Keen interest in the physical, physiological and psychological aspects of pregnancy and birth
To be able to provide efficient care as a midwife it is crucial that you have an in-depth understanding of foetal development and child birth. Continuing education is essential for midwives as it helps you update your knowledge and stay in touch with the latest developments in this field.
- Exceptional people skills
Midwives provide professional reassurance and support to a diverse range of women, during some of the most emotionally-charged periods in their lives. Having exceptional people skills is necessary to be able to deal with women from different cultures and who follow a completely different set of traditions.
- Outstanding communication and observation
You need to be a good at listening and communicating with women, their partners and families. This is especially important when complications arise and family members cannot agree on any one approach.
- Happy to work as part of a team
Caring for pregnant women is not a solitary endeavour. Different situations may require different specialty care. As a midwife you will be part of a multidisciplinary team where you would be liaising with GPs, sonographers, health visitors and social workers. You will also work alongside the parents and baby. The better you know each other, the more smoothly the birth is likely to go.
- Ability to answer pressing questions and offer comfort and advice
For most parents-to-be, the attendant midwife is the person they are most likely to turn to when they want questions answered you must be prepared to answer all types of questions posed by the parents as well as their family and friends, and make sure their needs are recognised by the rest of the care team.
- Capable of dealing with highly emotional situations
The reality of being a midwife is that all pregnancies may not progress smoothly or end on a happy note. At times like this you cannot afford to let your emotions take control. You need to stay alert, calm and composed in times of stress and help instil confidence in your patient and her family. On those rare occasions where something goes wrong, you have to be ready to react quickly and effectively.