A few years ago, Midwifery was not available as a single course of study. Nurses could practice as midwives only after taking an additional course on it. Today, however, such is not the case. Midwifery is available as a three-year course in universities.
Hearing the name “midwife, ” one may be tempted to assume that only females are part of the profession. But this is not the case. In several countries, both males and females practice as midwives, as it is a profession befitting to all.
This article sheds light on the duties of a midwife, requirements for practice, places a midwife can work, the average salary of a Midwife, amongst others.
Who is a Midwife?
A midwife is a health professional whose duties revolve around playing major roles in birthing babies. This includes the provision of helpful information to support patients and their relatives during and after the pregnancy period. Their major goal is the reduction of morbidity and mortality of mother and child.
Also, depending on the setting, their duties can be at home, in health care centers, birth centers, or in hospitals.
The major responsibilities of midwives are generally categorized into three, and they include:
Responsibilities during pregnancy.
Responsibilities during Labor and Birth.
Midwives provide information on the best exercises pregnant women should engage in.
They provide information on what to eat and what should be avoided during the pregnancy period.
They provide adequate information on medications that are to be avoided, for the health of the fetus.
Midwives educate patients and their relatives on parenting, reproductive health, family planning, etc.
They monitor the patient’s health and that of the unborn child periodically.
They train patients on coping mechanisms before and during labor.
Responsibilities during Labor and birth.
They provide timely emotional support and encouragement during labor to help with pain and comfort.
They assist in delivering patients’ babies in birth centers, health care centers, patients’ homes, or hospitals.
Responsibilities after birth
Midwives clean up the newborn.
They train mothers on how to carry their babies.
They train others on how to feed their babies.
Midwives teach mothers on how to bathe their babies.
They provide information on the best meals for mothers, to aid with fast recovery after delivery.
They help patients and relatives to cope with miscarriages and stillbirths such as arise.
Midwives help provide and administer important medication and vaccines needed immediately after delivery.
Qualifications for Practice.
To practice as a midwife in the United States, the following are necessary:
A Bachelor’s or associate’s degree in nursing or a related field.
Completion of an accredited midwifery educational program. This should be certified by either the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) or the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM).
Appropriate state license.
Experience working as a midwife.
Basic Life Support (BLS) and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) certifications.
In addition to these, other requirements include:
Effective communication skills.
Ability to work under pressure.
Clinical assessment skills, such as how to check blood pressure, pulse rate, etc.
37.5 hours is the standard working hours in one week for Midwives. This includes nights, early starts, evenings, weekends, and holidays.
In the United States, midwives earn $98,237 per annum on average. This is more for those practicing as both Nurses and midwives.
A midwife can work at the following places:
A Health care center
A Birth center
The armed forces.
As a profession, opportunities exist for further specialization. Through experience and training, a midwife can become a Clinical Specialist in the following areas:
Intensive care neonatal units
Labour ward supervision
Ultrasound and fetal medicine.
Furthermore, years of experience at the hospital can promote one to become a Consultant Midwife.
Midwives are important personnel in the Health care team. They provide the necessary information, advice, care, and support for women and their babies; during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postnatal period. The importance of their duties cannot be overemphasized.
In conclusion, Midwifery is available as a single course of study in Universities, and as a profession, it attracts good pay. It is very noble because it provides an avenue to have a positive impact on the lives of women and children; a way of contributing one’s quota to society.