Interested in becoming a midwife? Midwives are healthcare providers who assist expectant mothers through pregnancy, labor and delivery. They also provide postnatal care to mother and child. Additionally they help women who want to experience natural childbirth by offering spiritual and emotional guidance. Midwives have been around for hundreds of years assisting women through childbirth. Traditionally the underlying thinking is that pregnancy and the act of birthing is a spiritual phenomena and it should have few medical interventions to maintain the natural experience.
Essentially the midwife’s job is to keep tabs on the health of the mother and fetus, provide guidance to the mother and nutritional requirements and self care generating a sense of well being. Midwives educate the mother on labor and delivery options allowing the mother to remain in control and guide the mother and child through labor and delivery.
Being a midwife is a serious responsibility. They are very knowledgeable and skilled practitioners and they are the first responders. As I’m sure you’re aware, pregnancies can vary and are subject to complications so a midwife must be confident in handling emergency situations. A mother looks up to a midwife as a leader and relies on guidance through confusing and painful deliveries. Even though you may have an obstetrician, you can still have a midwife who will act as the mothers advocate. Not all states in the U.S. allow midwifery so you’ll need to check the state you live in.
You need to have a 4 year bachelor’s degree to start with. Graduate midwifery programs vary so you need to check with several programs to see what they require in terms of prerequisites at the undergraduate level. Your undergraduate coursework involves a number of science courses such as biology, anatomy, physiology, health and chemistry. You need some social sciences cources such as psychology, sociology and anthropology along with humanities coursework such as women’s coursework and literature. You might want to talk with some midwives to gain insight about the field before you begin your coursework. See if you can get an interview with several midwives.
It is highly suggested that you do an internship at a birthing center or at least volunteer to gain hands-on experience. Midwives in your area as well as your program counseler can help you with this. See if they can provide insight into how to be successful in your studies so that you can achieve your goals.
Once you have received your bachelors degree, you can apply to a midwifery graduate program. Each program varies. Some will require a nursing degree before you can enter the grad midwifery program while others may concentrate on philosophical, political or spiritual aspects. So take a look at several programs and see what you think is right for you. You’ll need good undergraduate grades and your personality is important. You might want to do some research on materials written by midwives on the politics of their world so that you can write the best personal statement and essay which is required for grad school entrance. Clearly state your interest in becoming a midwife and the importance that it plays in society today.
Once you finish your grad midwifery program, you’ll need to pass the national certifying exam. In the U.S. it is administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). If you pass, you will be certified.
When you look for a midwifery position, consider hospitals, clinics and birthing centers, however you set your own practice if that suits you.
Midwife checks on mom
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Susan has studied at the University of Texas Medical Branch Marine Biomedical Institute in Galveston, Texas and the University of South Florida in Tampa and received a Ph.D. in Biology with a major in Neuroscience and minors in physics and mathematics. Area of research is in brain transplantation and behavior testing with twenty years of teaching experience. Fields of interest include the physical basis of memory and learning, brain repair and regeneration as well as neuro-development. As an educator, has taught thousands of students at the college level in anatomy and physiology, biology, microbiology, marinebiology, nutrition, communications, radiography, ultrasound, mathematics and physics. She enjoys reading current scientific literature and simplifying the material making it readily available to the public.