There are many options to become a midwife. Some people choose to become certified in midwifery, while others may choose to become a registered nurse or an obstetrician/gynecologist. If you decide to become a midwife, there are a few things you need to do in order to get started. First, you’ll need to find a college or university that offers a degree in midwifery. Next, you’ll need to complete an online course in midwifery. Finally, you’ll need to go through the licensing process and be certified by the state board of midwifery.
A midwife is one of the most important health professionals in our society. They provide care to pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children. Midwives work in community settings and in hospitals. They help to maintain public health by providing prenatal care, obstetric care, and postnatal care. In addition to their roles as health professionals, midwives are also responsible for educating the public about their rights and responsibilities as a health professional. Learn About Being a Midwife
What exactly is a midwife?
What does a midwife do?
A midwife is a health professional who assists women before, during and after the birth of their children. Midwives may deliver babies in hospitals, private homes or at birthing centers. A midwife’s primary goals are to monitor the wellbeing, comfort and safety of women throughout the childbearing process and minimize unnecessary medical interventions.
Midwives may also provide expectant and new mothers with education, information and counseling related to the birthing process and after.
Common duties that a midwife may perform include:
Performing annual gynecological exams
Providing preconception and prenatal care
Offering education and information related to breastfeeding, pregnancy health, nutrition, exercise, fertility and infant care
Providing labor and delivery support
Educating women on their birthing options and what option may be best for their individual situations
Monitoring the health of the expectant mother and unborn child
Providing follow-up care after delivery
The role of a midwife will depend on a variety of factors, including the certification that the midwife holds and the state they practice in. Midwives may work with women of all ages and in various stages of life but most commonly work with pregnant women during both the pregnancy and the birth of the baby.
Types of midwives
There a few different types of midwives, each requiring a different level of education and training. Most midwives hold one or more certifications through the American College of Nurse-Midwives and/or the North American Registry of Midwives. The following are the most commonly recognized types of midwives:
Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)
A certified nurse-midwife is a highly trained and educated midwife who has both a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing as well as a master’s degree in Midwifery. A CNM must also be certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives to practice. These midwives often work in hospitals or clinical settings and can prescribe medications, treatments and diagnostic measures.
Certified Midwife (CM)
A certified midwife must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing or a related field and be certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Not all states recognize this credential.
Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)
This type of midwife has received midwifery training and meets the standards for practice set by the North American Registry of Midwives. Several different educational backgrounds may be accepted when pursuing a career as a CPM. These midwives practice primarily in out-of-hospital settings.
Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM)
A direct-entry midwife is an independent professional who has received midwifery training and education through apprenticeship, self-study, midwifery school or college degree that is not nursing. They most commonly provide midwife services in out-of-hospital settings.
Average salary of a midwife
The current average salary for a midwife in the United States is $103,779 per year. However, various factors can impact a midwife’s salary.
These factors include the title and certifications a midwife holds, the employer they work for and the state in which they are located. Additionally, midwives may make additional compensation in the form of overtime. Average overtime compensation per year is around $10,625 for midwives.
How to become a midwife
The following are the steps you can take if you aspire to become a midwife:
1. Enroll in a bachelor’s degree program
Most midwives have a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) or a related field. The program you choose to pursue should be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
2. Become a registered nurse (RN)
Upon completion of a BSN or similar degree program, you will probably be eligible to practice as a registered nurse in your state after applying to the local State Board of Nursing and taking and passing the National Council Licensing Examination. During this time, you should focus on gaining a minimum of one year of experience in nursing, preferably with hands-on training in OB/GYN.
3. Complete an ACME-approved midwifery graduate program
After obtaining the required experience as an RN, you will likely be able to apply for and complete a graduate program in midwifery. The program you choose should be accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. A Master’s Degree in Midwifery is the minimum requirement to practice as a midwife in many states.
4. Take and pass the midwifery exam
Most midwife positions will require you to have passed the American Midwifery Certification Board examination. This is a national exam that is typically taken on a computer and consists of 175 multiple-choice questions. After passing this exam and obtaining certification, you will be able to apply for a position as a midwife
Frequently asked questions about a career as a midwife
The following are a few of the most frequently asked questions related to working as a midwife:
What environment do midwives work in?
Most midwives work in a hospital or clinical setting. However, many midwives may also work in private practices, university medical centers, birth centers or the private homes of patients.
What hours do midwives typically work?
A midwife may work typical hours such as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, many nurse-midwives also work non-traditional hours, such as on weekends and evenings. Midwives are also often required to be “on-call” for patients if a patient goes into labor or requires other immediate medical care related to pregnancy.
What services does a midwife provide?
A midwife may provide a variety of services both related and unrelated to pregnancy. The most common services provided by midwives include:
Disease prevention and management
Delivery and labor coaching
Treatment and counseling for sexually transmitted diseases