A Lay (Wo)Man’s Quick Guide on How to Become a Midwife
Not to be confused with an obstetrician or a doula, a midwife is a licensed healthcare provider who assists a woman during natural childbirth in her pre-chosen place which may be in a sterile hospital, in the comforts of her own home or a much personalized service facility such as a mid-wifery clinic. A midwife is ideally not allowed to perform any childbirth that is characterized as high risk or have manifestations of either pregnancy or labor complications. If this should be the unlikely scenario, the midwife should refer her patient, the would-be-mom, to an obstetrician who could better assess, address and remedy the medical concerns.
As opposed to a doula who acts as a mental and emotional caregiver of a would-be-mom, the midwife like an obstetrician can conduct the routine check-ups that a pregnant woman should undertake like vaginal exams, heart monitoring of the baby, taking of body temperature and blood pressure and other related laboratory tests.
A midwife’s lifestyle is toxic as it involves a lot of sleepless nights and irregular waking hours (especially when the would-be-mom is in labor and the baby is taking its sweet time to come out). On top of the skills and extensive trainings, a midwife’s personal traits and solid character are taken into consideration. A midwife should exercise a lot of patience (you can’t hurry birth), quick thinking (notably during emergencies and delicate situations), strong will (fainting is not an option), a steady hand (natural skills and clinical trainings are necessary), grace under pressure (can’t be rattled for whatever reason in any situation) and humility (it’s not wrong to ask for help or refer the would-be-mom to an obstetrician should there be a need or cause).
If you think you have what it takes to be a midwife and would like to know how to become one then this no- nonsense guide will help you with just that.
1.How To Become A Midwife – Educational requirements
Depending on your current school attainment, there are various ways to become a midwife.
If you are a registered nurse but have no bachelor’s degree, you are required to finish a bachelor’s degree in another field. After which, you can take a master’s midwifery program.
If you are not a registered nurse but has a bachelor’s degree, you must enroll under an accredited non-nurse midwife education course.
If you are not a registered nurse and has no bachelor degree, you must first take and complete a bachelors degree course.
Recommended undergraduate or bachelor degree courses are those which include basic sciences such as biology and chemistry. It would also not hurt to take or include minor subjects such as Humanities particularly one dealing with women’s studies and Social Sciences specifically sociology and anthropology which, with these subjects, would render a holistic view of a woman’s historical, psychological and physiological make-up.
Whichever route you will take or prefer based on the above scenarios, after completion of the course, you will be eligible to take the national midwifery certifying examinations.
2.How To Become A Midwife – In-school trainings
Hands-on trainings are taught during the course of studies which include actual childbirths in a natural setting such as inside a hospital or other child birthing venues.
3.How To Become A Midwife – Take and pass the national certifying examination
Either you completed and graduated from a midwifery course or nurse-midwifery course, you are now enjoined to take the national certifying exams for midwifery. Once you pass the exams, you’ll be given a certificate. With the license, you can now start planning and looking for a job.
4.How To Become A Midwife – Land a job
Congratulations! You are now a CM (certified midwife) or CNM (certified nurse-midwife). Depending on your goals and work-environment preference, you may go the traditional route and try applying to hospitals, medical clinics, private practice or birthing or laying-in clinics. Or you may take the unconventional route and apply to NGO’s or nonprofit organizations or other institutions sharing your advocacy of empowering women on their health and reproductive choices. Or if you have the vision and mission, financial capacity and personal strength, you may choose to put up your own birthing clinic.
5. How To Become A Midwife – Non-stop learnings
Being a CM or CNM entails continuous education and trainings. You should keep abreast on what’s new about the midwifery community.