Shadowing a Doctor

July 13, 2016


Working as a midwife has often been compared to a roller coaster ride. It can be exciting, rewarding, demanding and draining all at once. As a midwife, you can experience several highs and several lows in one day as you attend to successful pregnancies and deliveries and also deal with those that do not end on such a happy note. It’s all in a day’s work for a midwife and through it all, no matter how you feel about the various encounters, you must remain professional and stay as objective as possible.

If all of this sounds challenging, it’s because it is. Working as a midwife is no walk in the park. To most people, a midwife is someone who helps deliver babies. However, that is only one of the numerous tasks that a midwife performs.

Typical responsibilities

A midwife’s responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Monitoring their patients’ health from the time the pregnancy is confirmed, through the entire pregnancy, labour and a short time immediately after birth
  • Diagnosing pregnancy-related medical conditions such as pre-eclampsia and others
  • Identifying potential and existing complications and suggesting corrective measures
  • Monitoring women and their babies during and after birth
  • Providing emergency care when necessary
  • Offering women practical and emotional support for coping with the many changes that occur during and after pregnancy
  • Providing ante-natal care for the baby after birth

Sometimes, a midwife may do all of the above in one single work day. A midwife getting ready for a day at work rarely has any idea of what excitement or challenges their shift will bring.

Another unique feature of a career as a midwife is that there is no such thing as a schedule. You can plan as much as you like, but a woman’s pregnancy will often follow its own course and unless a caesarean is scheduled for some reason, a woman can go into labour at any time of the day or night.

Welcome to a day in the life of a midwife, where anything can happen and the only thing you can be sure of is that you have no idea what’s coming up next.

What does this mean for anyone who wants to work as a midwife?

If you are considering a career as a midwife you must have a few attributes that will hold you in good stead during your work day.

You must be flexible and be prepared to be called out at anytime, whether it is because your client has gone into labour or because of an emergency distress call.

You must be compassionate, patient and supportive to pregnant woman who are excited and at the same time scared as they go through this wonderful, life-changing experience.

You must be a great communicator so you can get your message across to women from across different cultures and countries.

You must be able to handle bodily fluids without feeling squeamish as you will be the main person in charge of helping with the delivery.

If you want to know more about a day in the life of a midwife, you don’t have to stop at the theory. You can get a firsthand look at what working as a midwife is like by shadowing a midwife or by doing a medical placement where you can shadow an experienced midwife in their usual hospital setting.



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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.