Do you have what it takes to pursue a career in midwifery?May 4, 2016
Working as a midwife can be immensely rewarding, but it can also be physically and emotionally demanding, with a high level of responsibility.
Midwives look after the health of mother and baby during, before and after pregnancy. In addition to providing the practical and medical knowledge to deliver babies safely into the world, they also provide much-needed support and advice during what is possibly the most poignant and challenging time in the entire family’s life. As a midwife, you will have three very distinct areas of work during the different stages of pregnancy and childbirth.
- Antenatal involves caring for the mother and the unborn child still in the womb.
- Delivery involves caring for the mother and baby during the actual birth process.
- Postnatal involves caring for the new mother and the baby after childbirth during the early weeks of life.
A day in the life of a midwife
Here’s a snapshot of the different tasks you will do on a daily basis in your role as a midwife:
- Dispense antenatal advice on nutrition and lifestyle
- Perform antenatal checkups
- Offer practical and emotional support and advice for coping with pregnancy and caring for a newborn baby
- Monitor the mother’s health and the baby’s progress at regular intervals
- Carry out and interpret screening tests
- Identify complications
- Educate the mum-to-be on contractions, the process of giving birth and how to control her breathing during delivery
- Administer pain relief to the mother if necessary
- Check the position of the baby during childbirth
- Liaise with the doctor over any complications during childbirth
- Deliver, weight and clean the baby
- Perform minor surgery if necessary during or after childbirth
- Check on the health of the new mother and baby in the first few weeks after birth and dispense advice on proper childcare
Essential skills & attributes
That are a lot of different tasks you will need to perform during the different stages of pregnancy and childbirth. To do all of this requires the following personal skills and attributes.
- Compassionate and caring nature
- Outstanding communication skills and the ability to inspire confidence and calm in difficult situations
- Objective, observant, intuitive and non-judgemental
- Excellent physical and mental endurance
- Ability to work as part of a team but also act independently when necessary
- Ability to relate to people from various cultures and walks of life.
- Not squeamish about dealing with blood, urine and faeces, which often accompany childbirth
Above all, you must have a flexible schedule and be prepared to attend to a delivery at any time of the day or night at short notice. Babies often arrive at the most unexpected time and as the attendant midwife, you will have to be present during the labour and delivery.
You like the idea of being a midwife but are not sure if you have what it takes? A midwifery work experience placement will allow you to get valuable insight into this career and help you decide whether or not you have what it takes to make a great midwife.
Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.