Biggest Myths about Working as a Midwife

April 29, 2015

Assisting a surgeon during the delivery! A career as a midwife can be both interesting and rewarding. But if you are considering becoming a midwife, it is essential to gather accurate information about what the career involves. Not everyone is familiar with the role of a midwife and the training involved. Continue reading to separate myths from facts about a career as a midwife.


  • Myth: Midwives are similar to labor and delivery nurses.

Labor and delivery nurses play an important role before, during and after the birthing process. But they do not do the same things as a midwife. Labor and delivery nurses follow the orders of the doctor or midwife. Midwives are trained to perform many of the same duties as an obstetrician. 

  • Myth: A midwife cannot handle a medical emergency.

Midwives have extensive training in the birthing process. They have a thorough understanding of pregnancy and birth complications and can recognize the signs that something is going wrong. Midwives have the skills needed to know when lifesaving medical intervention are needed. If a midwife is delivering a baby in a patient’s home, they usually bring emergency equipment, such as oxygen.

  • Myth: Midwives only care for pregnant women.

While midwives do care for pregnant women, but that is not the only responsibility they have. Many midwives also treat women of all ages. They may treat women who are having trouble conceiving. They may also provide routine care for women including exams and prescribing birth control.

  • Myth: You cannot work in a hospital as a midwife.

Not all midwives work in the same setting. Midwives often assist births in locations, such as a patient’s home, but they also work in other settings.  For instance, some midwives work in a hospital or in a birthing center. Others may be self-employed and operate their own practice. In addition, some midwives work in an obstetrician’s office.

  • Myth: A midwifery program is easy.

A midwifery program involves extensive education in topics including pregnancy and postpartum care, women’s health and the care of the newborn. Admission requirements to midwifery programs vary, but many programs require applicants to hold a registered nursing license. Certain programs may also have additional admission requirements, such as a bachelor degree in nursing. Programs for midwives vary in length, but many take two years or more to complete. In addition to classroom lectures, midwives will be required to perform certain clinical tasks and assist in childbirth.

  • Myth: Midwives are similar to doulas. 

Doulas and midwives may work together during a woman’s pregnancy and childbirth, but they do not have the same responsibilities.  Doulas offer emotional support to women during childbirth.

For example, a doula may help a woman utilize non-medical methods of pain relief, such as relaxation techniques. They may also provide support in the post-partum period, providing tips on breastfeeding and natural ways to reduce post-partum pain. 

Midwives may also offer emotional support, but they also provide medical care for both the woman and baby. They provide medical interventions as needed during the course of the birth, such as helping guide the baby out of the birth canal.