Ten things you may not know about being a midwifeDecember 1, 2014
Becoming a midwife is a big decision. Before you invest time and money attending school to be a midwife, it may be helpful to learn more about the profession.
Midwives often take care of women during pregnancy. They will also provide support during labor. Women who prefer a natural approach to labor, such as using breathing techniques for pain relief, often choose midwives to assist with their delivery. Although you may have a general idea what a midwife does, some things about the profession may be surprising.
1. A midwife’s work goes beyond taking care of women during pregnancy. Although a large part of their job may be taking care of women during pregnancy and childbirth, it is not the only part. Midwives may also provide the same type of care as a gynecologist, such as routine exams and health screenings.
2. Midwives are on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more women are choosing midwives than ever before. An increasing number of women prefer to deliver their baby in settings other than a hospital, such as a birthing center or at home and choose a midwife for support.
3. State requirements for midwives vary. Not all midwife certifications are the same. For example, certified nurse-midwives also hold a registered nursing license. But certified professional midwives are not RN’s. Both types of midwives are required to go through an accredited midwifery program, but some states only allow certified nurse-midwives to become licensed.
4. Men also become midwives. Although the vast majority of midwives are women, it is not a rule that you have to be female to enter the profession. Men also choose to be midwives for many of the same reasons as women.
5. Most midwife programs require a bachelor’s degree for admission. Even if you are a registered nurse, most midwifery programs require applicants to have earned their bachelor’s of nursing degree as opposed to just their associate degree.
6. Midwives learn how to assist during home births. If you are interested in working as a midwife, you may have a specific setting you prefer to work in. Some midwives want to work in a hospital or birthing center while others prefer the environment of a home birth. Regardless of which direction you go into, many programs require students to participate in home births as part of their training.
7. Midwives often focus on a natural delivery. Women who choose midwives to care for them are often interested in as natural a delivery as possible, with minimal medical interventions. This means pain medication including epidurals is not used. Part of the job of a midwife is to teach women alternative ways to manage pain, such as deep breathing.
8. Midwifery is not for the squeamish. Childbirth is not a neat, clean process. Midwives should be comfortable dealing with body fluids, such as blood.
9. Being a midwife can be stressful at times. Not every delivery goes according to plan. Sometimes unexpected situations arise, and emergencies happen. Midwives should be able to handle emergency situations calmly.
10. Not all midwifery schools are the same. Midwifery schools offer different curriculums. Some may have online classes or offer part-time classes. Make sure to research the schools you are interested in to determine if the school meets your needs.