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What is it Like to be a Midwife?

Posted on 23/06/2021
What is it Like to be a Midwife?

There is so much more to midwifery than delivering babies at birth. As a midwife, you make a commitment to the expectant mothers requiring your care. Dedicating your time to provide them with assistance day or night. And going on their journey through pregnancy to motherhood with them.

You’ll work with soon-to-be mothers from all backgrounds and help each of them make this transition. Which can be joyous for some but frightening for others. No matter their situation, you need to be in tune with their feelings and cater to their needs. So that each one has as comfortable and pleasant a pregnancy and birthing experience as possible.

On paper, the role may seem fairly standard. You’ll check in with your clients, take scans, perform gynaecological examinations, give birthing and parenting advice. But, without first-hand experience, it can be hard to know what it’s really like to be a midwife.

The first thing to make clear is that it isn’t a role suited to everyone. Not only does it take considerable commitment, but you’ll be exposed to your fair share of emotional challenges. Pregnancies and births can go wrong or become complicated for a number of reasons. And, unfortunately, the outcome isn’t always as you’d have hoped.

But, the vast majority of the time, your hard work will be rewarded by the new life you’ve safely introduced to the world. You’ll get to witness first-hand one of the most beautiful experiences new mothers and families can go through. Providing you with a sense of fulfilment that is almost unrivalled in any other profession.

Find out more about what it’s like to be a midwife and what you can experience in the role below.

learndirect - What is it Like to be a Midwife?

Emotional

Working as a midwife can be incredibly emotional. Having a baby, whether it’s the first or fifth time, is an intimate time for families and the pregnant individual. And you have the privilege of taking part in this experience.

Many soon to be mothers will be emotional and apprehensive during their pregnancy. This could just be due to nerves or external factors influencing their experience, like religious beliefs or access to support.   

Being their first and main point of contact positions you perfectly to put them at ease. Whether it’s simple reassurance, explanation of foreign birthing procedures or putting them in touch with relevant supporting services.

You’ll be the person they look to for guidance during their pregnancy, throughout labour and the early postnatal period. You will build a strong, supportive bond and experience their highs and lows with them.

Challenging

Midwifery really can be a wonderful job, but you also need to be prepared for the challenges attached. Birthing a child isn’t easy. Health complications can arise at any time and you’re the one who's likely to be at the scene when they do. This means you need to think clearly and act swiftly to react accordingly to the situation. Getting the mother and baby the help they need.

There may be times where you have to inform the new mother that their unborn child is experiencing health complications. Or that they have a disability. You may also witness births that are quite traumatic, where the mother or baby comes under risk.

One of the most challenging situations you’ll face will be supporting mothers who are experiencing the death of their baby. Which is understandably one of the more difficult aspects of the career. However, this is a very important part of your role. You’ll need to have the resilience to do your job in light of the situation and support the parent/s in their grief.

You might also work with mothers whose pregnancy conflicts with their religious beliefs. Or those who are in an abusive relationship. In any case, you’ll need to be on hand to support and advise the mother as best you can. Responding to concerns for mothers and unborn babies where vulnerability and risk indicators are identified, in line with protection procedures.

learndirect - What's it Like to be a Midwife?

Rewarding

It takes a lot of hard work, determination and emotional strength to be a successful midwife. But where there are challenges there are also rewards. As a midwife, you have the opportunity to make a real, positive difference in the lives of others.

You can help a nervous, inexperienced young mother become confident in their ability to care for their child. Simply by taking the time to provide them with evidence-based advice and giving them options that suit their personal choices.

You can help those who feel alone in their journey realise there is support available. And this is in addition to you, who will be a pillar of strength for them throughout.

You can even help mothers whose cultures and beliefs have instilled challenging perspectives towards their care and treatment. Working with them to help them understand the condition of their pregnancy and what can be done to fix complications.

As hard as it may be at times, the rewarding feeling you get when mother and baby are happy and healthy after the birth makes it all worthwhile.

Varied

The midwifery role is far more diverse than many people realise. Not only do you provide health and parenting education, you’ll also support new parents and families throughout the childbearing process.

This involves everything from home visits to breastfeeding advice and education. Should one of your mothers experience postnatal depression, you’ll be there to support them through that too. So, midwifery duties certainly don’t stop at the birth of the child.  

You’ll also meet the needs of mothers by working in partnership with external health and social care services. And since you can work with mothers who are teenagers, socially excluded or disabled, for instance, these needs can be quite diverse.

Important

Working with any mother to facilitate this part of their lives is an incredibly important role. But many expecting mothers don’t have a safe pregnancy or birthing experience. As a midwife, you are in a unique position to create a bond with the mothers you work with. Getting to know them, understanding their situation and being someone they can confide in.

The comforting nature of midwives means mothers can open up to you in ways they may not feel able to otherwise. Disclosing information about issues that may affect the baby or concerns about their ability as a parent. Through these communications and your ability to assess them up close, you can identify any red flags. Which can be anything that highlights their need for further help.

learndirect - What is it really like to be a Midwife?

Get Started as a Midwife

To get started as a midwife, you need to complete a degree in midwifery at university. This has to be approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and they have certain requirements for entry.

Each university is different but these were traditionally GCSEs in English or Maths and two or three relevant A Levels. Now, more qualifications are accepted in place of these to make university increasingly available to more people in society.

An Access to Higher Education Diploma (Nursing), for instance, can go in place of multiple A Levels. It has been designed to prepare you for university. As well as to equip you with the skills and techniques you need to master for your midwifery career.

You will learn all about bringing a new life into the world. Plus the interpersonal skills you need to comfort and prepare future parents. You’ll also gain an understanding of post-partum care and how to navigate the healthcare system to help expectant parents.

What’s more, the course is delivered completely online so you can study around your existing commitments.

learndirect is the leading UK distance learning provider. With many online courses to help you get started in a new career.

Find out more about studying midwifery online by clicking the link below.

learndirect - Get started in midwifery - Study an Access to HE Diploma

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