A Career As A Midwife

Alexa Friedrichs

Career Overview

Midwives care for pregnant women before, during, and immediately after childbirth. They deliver babies for low-risk pregnancies.

Prenatal care
Midwives work closely with expectant mothers throughout their pregnancy. They get a complete medical history from the patient to be sure it is a low-risk pregnancy. They determine the due date.

Midwives educate pregnant women about nutrition, exercise, and general well-being. They regularly monitor fetal growth and listen to the baby's heartbeat. If complications develop, such an ectopic pregnancy or signs that the mother or baby is not doing well, midwives refer patients to obstetricians or other specialists.

Midwives help pregnant women plan for childbirth. This includes helping them determine how they will manage pain and what kind of birthing environment they would like.

Birth
Midwives monitor the mother and baby's condition during labor by checking vital signs. They also monitor contractions and perform physical examinations to establish how the labor is progressing. They make suggestions for positions that may facilitate childbirth. They may administer oxygen if required.

Postpartum care
After the birth, midwives provide medical care for infants including emergency resuscitation. They also monitor the mother's recovery. In addition, they help mothers and babies learn how to breastfeed.

There are two types of midwives in the U.S. Laws pertaining to midwifery scope of practice and education requirements vary from state to state.

Nurse midwives
Nurse midwives are registered nurses with a master's degree in midwifery. Nurse midwives can order lab tests throughout the pregnancy. They may also write prescriptions and administer medication during labor. They usually attend births in a hospital or medical clinic setting.

Direct entry midwives
Direct entry midwives are not trained as nurses but may have completed a 4-6 year midwife training program and apprenticeship. They often attend homebirths.

Skills & Interests

Communicate

  • Listen to others, understand, and ask questions.
  • Express ideas clearly when speaking or writing.
  • Read and understand work-related materials.

Reason and Problem Solve

  • Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.
  • Analyze ideas and use logic to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions.
  • Judge the costs and benefits of a possible action.
  • Use reasoning to discover answers to problems.
  • Concentrate and not be distracted while performing a task.
  • Develop rules or follow guidelines when arranging items.
  • Understand new information or materials by studying and working with them.
  • Identify problems and review information. Develop, review, and apply solutions.

Manage Oneself, People, Time, and Things

  • Check how well one is learning or doing something.
  • Manage the time of self and others.

Work with People

  • Be aware of others' reactions and change behavior in relation to them.
  • Look for ways to help people.
  • Use several methods to learn or teach others or self new things.

Perceive and Visualize

  • Identify a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in distracting material.
  • Quickly and accurately compare letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns.

Working Conditions

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Have a very high degree of social interaction. Interacting with patients and their families is key to their work.
  • Are responsible for the health and safety of their patients.
  • Are somewhat responsible for the work done by assistants.
  • Communicate via face-to-face discussions and telephone on a daily basis. They also write email, letters, and memos, but less frequently.
  • Usually work as part of a team.

Physical Work Conditions

  • Almost always work indoors.
  • Are exposed to the diseases and infections of their patients on a regular basis.
  • Frequently wear safety attire, such as medical gloves and masks, in the course of their day.
  • Sometimes must get into awkward positions to help deliver babies.
  • Work very near and come into close physical contact with patients.

Work Performance

  • Must be very exact in their work. Errors could seriously harm the health of patients, including newborn infants.
  • Make decisions on a daily basis that substantially impact patients and their families.
  • Make nearly all their decisions and set their daily tasks and goals independently.
  • Work in a moderately competitive, stressful atmosphere where they must meet daily deadlines.

Hours/Travel

  • Often work over 40 hours per week.
  • Usually are on-call and may work weekends and nights.
  • Sometimes work in a stressful atmosphere, often during complicated births.

Wages & Outlook

Hourly: $48.96

Yearly: $101,840

Job opportunities for midwives are expected to be excellent. As the population grows, there will be more women having babies. Many women are deciding to use a midwife to provide care during, before, and after childbirth. This will increase the need for midwives. Job opportunities are expected to be especially good in medically underserved areas such as inner cities and rural areas.

Pay varies by employer, area of the country, and the worker's level of experience.

Midwives who work full time may receive benefits. Typical benefits include health insurance, sick leave, and paid vacation.

Related Occupations

  • Family Practitioner
  • OBGYN
  • Registered Nurse

Programs Of Study - Midwifery

Overview

Midwifery programs prepare people to care for women and babies before, during, and after childbirth.

Midwifery programs include topics such as:

  • Health and nutrition
    •Basic obstetrics
    •Women's health
    •Labor support
    •Natural childbirth
    •Newborn care
  • Midwifery programs prepare people to work in birthing centers and at home births.

    Schools
    A few community colleges and specialized schools offer certificates and associate degrees in midwifery. A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study.

    A few colleges and specialized schools offer bachelor's degrees in midwifery. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

    Very few schools offer graduate programs in midwifery. For information about graduate-level nurse midwifery programs see the nurse midwifery program of study.

    Program Admission

    Proprietary schools, colleges, and universities all offer this program. If you want to study at a proprietary school, you can prepare for this program of study by completing your high school degree or getting a GED. If you want to study at a college or university, you can prepare for this program by taking the following courses: four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

    Certificate programs that require only a high school diploma and GED sometimes also ask that you complete some general education or basic health science courses. Program requirements vary, but sometimes you need to complete these courses before you apply. Other times you can take them during your first term of study. These courses may include the following:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
    •Basic Natural Sciences with lab
    •Critical Thinking and Analysis
    •English Composition
    •Historical Perspectives
    •Human Thought and Behavior
    •Humanities
    •Medical Terminology
  • You also need certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), including neonatal resuscitation.

    Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

  • Child Development and Parenting
    •Health Education
    •Healthcare Occupations
    •Home Health Care
    •Healthcare Sciences Work Experience
    •Anatomy and Physiology
    •Psychology
  • Typical Course Work

    This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

  • Antepartum Care
    •Complications of Labor and Birth
    •Counseling and Communication Skills
    •Critical Care Skills
    •Epidemiology and Statistics
    •Facilitating Labor and Assisting Delivery
    •Fertility and Conception
    •Gestational Diabetes
    •History and Politics of Midwifery
    •Homeopathy and Herbs in Pregnancy and Birth
    •Intrapartum Care
    •Newborn Care
    •Nutrition
    •Physical Assessment Skills
    •Prenatal Care and Complications
    •Postpartum Care, Breastfeeding, and Maternal Adjustment
    •Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology
    •Running a Midwifery Practice
    •Suturing
    •Venipuncture and Lab Work
    •Well-Woman Gynecology Skills
  • Course work in midwifery graduate programs that leads to a master's or doctoral degree varies depending on the school and program. However, the curriculum generally tends to look like the following:

  • Required courses (both master's and doctoral degrees)
    •Thesis (master's degree only)
    •Dissertation and dissertation defense (doctoral degree only)
    •Presentation of research at a national conference (doctoral degree only)
  • Topics of focus may include administration, education, practice, or community services.

    All programs include clinical apprenticeships in their curriculum. Under the direct supervision of an experienced midwife, you assist in prenatal exams, births, newborn exams, and postpartum exams. You could be placed in a birth center or in various clients' homes.

    Related Programs

    Nurse Midwifery

    Pediatrics

    OBGYN

    Schools That Offer This Program:

    Mayo Medical School - Rochester

    University of Minnesota - St.Paul/Minneapolis

    School Of Choice

    Mayo Medical School - Rochester, MN

    College Info:

    This school is intended for students that have already received their medical degree and are looking to go further into a specific field of Medics.

    It's located in Rochester, MN. It's enrollment number is around 500 students.

    It's set in urban Rochester, a city with around 100,000 people. The school is co-ed.

    The requirements for the school are your college transcript, your high school transcript, ACT and GRE.

    The major I am looking into is Nursing Midwifery. The student faculty ratio is about 1 faculty per 20 students.

    The tuition depends on your program, but is usually around $18,000 per semester. There is no application fee or deadline, since it's rolling.

    Financial Aid is available, provided that you turn in your school form and FAFSA form by May for the fall semester.

    There is no housing or extra curricular activities because this is an internship program.

    You can visit this campus whenever you would like to schedule a visit.

    Informational Interview

    Date of Interview: 1.13.14

    Kari Rodman

    Doula

    N/A

    What did you learn in the interview?

    I learned that there is a lot more to childbirth than I originally thought. There are a lot of little things to do and be careful of. It kind of made me aware of whether or not I wanted to pursue a career in this field.

    What did you like? What didn't you like?

    I liked it's a challenging job that would take effort every day. I think it would be cool to experience the gift of life every day.

    I didn't find anything out that I didn't really like other than it could be overwhelming at times.

    Did you uncover concerns or advantages to this occupation?

    Adantages would be getting to care for the mother and the child after the birth. Concerns I have would include everything that could go wrong with the child and birth.

    What advice did you receive?

    She told me that I should work hard in whatever I decide to do and I could acheive whatever I put my heart to.

    Did you discover another occupation to explore?

    The doula occupation is a whole different experience than the midwife occupation, yet they are very similar, which is why I did my interview with a doula.

    Do you think you would be happy in this occupation?

    I think I would need more experience to see if I would like it or not.

    Steps to Reach My Goal

    More Interviews

    Phone Calls

    Research

    Other Resources That Will Connect Me To This Career