How to Become a Midwife

Does a job as a Midwife sound like it’s right up your alley? If so, keep reading this guide for helpful information you need to know about becoming a Midwife, including necessary experience, training and more

 

What Does a Midwife Do?

Midwives are specialists in pregnancy and giving birth, and can help pregnant women have a more natural childbirth experience, or a more holistic care experience. Since they are specialized and may have more time than medical doctors, midwives spend an inordinate amount of time reassuring the mother and talking to her about any concerns and needs related to childbirth.

A midwife’s role is also to look after a pregnant woman and her baby prior to pregnancy, as well as during labor and delivery and for up to 28 days after the birth of the baby.

Since midwives accentuate a natural childbirth, they are most often employed in a private domain, either at a birthing center or in the home of the pregnant woman.  They can also be affiliated with a hospital, and can assist the pregnant woman there during and after pregnancy. Midwives can also work at community clinics and military bases.

Being a midwife involves the care of a client during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period.  It also involves gynecological care, such as performing gynecological examinations, helping with preconception planning, providing antenatal care and assisting during labor and delivery,

Some common midwife duties and responsibilities include:

  • Counseling, education and advice to pregnant women
  • Managing complications in pregnancy and childbirth
  • Identifying high risk pregnancies and consulting with doctors and medical specialists
  • Offering support during tragedies, such as miscarriage, stillbirth and termination
  • Offering support and advice about the baby, from breastfeeding to bathing
  • Offering advice on hygiene and nutrition

Midwife Technical Skills

Since being Midwives mean working directly with a pregnant woman and her family, they must have excellent communication and ‘people’ skills.  A Midwife can expect to encounter dozens of sick, uncomfortable and frustrated clients every day. As such, Midwives need to be patient and empathetic to their clients. In addition, they must have a calm demeanor during stressful periods, and maintain accuracy in regards to established health center policies, procedures and objectives.

For clients or patients in any stage of life, the midwife is categorized as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) role because it requires graduate-level educational and clinical training.

Other key Pharmacy Technician skills include:

  • The ability to inspire trust and confidence
  • The ability to recognize that a patient is uncomfortable during many stages during her pregnancy, and that her response to her condition is not ‘personal.’
  • Having tact
  • Respect for the needs of women from a variety of cultures
  • Ability to follow health procedures and policies
  • The ability to come up with a program during parenthood preparation

 

How Do You Become a Midwife?

Education and Training

According to our analysis of online job postings, employers are looking for midwives who have active listening skills, critical thinking skills, social perceptiveness skills, communication skills, deductive reasoning, sensitivity, as well as decision-making and problem-solving skills.

Midwife candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree to become a midwife. More often than not, a master’s degree is required. In addition, most job postings we looked at require prospective midwives to be certified. A certified midwife, or a CM, might not be a nurse, but may be some other kind of healthcare provider, such as a physician’s assistant. A CM who is also a registered nurse is called a ‘Certified Nurse-Midwife,” or a CNM.

The prospective CM or CMN holds a bachelor’s degree with coursework that is heavy on the sciences. From there, the prospective CM or CNM can earn a master of science degree in midwifery. For those who are not nurses, they must take supplementary courses that provide healthcare context and knowledge.

While studying for a master’s, students receive hands-on training under the guidance of an experienced midwife. It is important to know that master programs must be accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education.

After graduating with a master’s, the prospective midwife or nurse must pass a certification exam given by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB)  after which they will become a CM.

A master’s degree is the minimum educational preparation required to become a CNM.  A RN or registered nurse can complete a two-year midwifery program to become a CNM, during which they must pass a certification exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

After the AMCB,  the CNM is trained in both nursing and midwifery, and will have graduated with a master’s degree in nursing and have received national certification as a nurse-midwife.

The CM, meanwhile, is trained solely in midwifery, and will hold a bachelor’s degree  from an accredited midwifery program or institution, as well as certification through the American College of Nurse Midwives.

Finally, the midwife needs to pass the Midwifery Certification Exam.

For employment, a CM or CNM must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX.

It’s important to know that the CNM has legal authority to practice in every state where licensed, and holds prescriptive authority where granted by state Boards. The CM is only recognized and legally permitted to practice in five states, which are New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Missouri and Rhode Island.

Finding a Job

Demand for Midwifes or healthcare practitioners and technical workers are  increasing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 14 percent growth for the position through 2024, amounting to a total of 1,490  openings for Midwives during that period. The faster-than-average growth for the profession is being driven primarily by women who want to have a more natural or holistic childbirth.

Given this projected growth, aspiring midwives are likely to find many job opportunities at hospitals, clinics and at the homes of their clients.

Any successful job search begins with crafting a high-quality resume that highlights your skills and experience. For guidance on creating a resume, take a look at JobHero’s library of Midwives resume samples.

Once your resume is complete, search online for job opportunities. As you look for Pharmacy Technician openings, be sure to make the most of your professional network, including people you met through college or graduate school.

When applying for jobs, write a cover letter that expresses your interest in the position and highlights your qualifications and what you would bring to the role. Take a look at our Registered Nurse cover letter sample for help.

 

How Much Do Midwives Get Paid?

Midwives, or “Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Workers, All Other”  are typically paid on a yearly basis, with the median annual wage in the United States being $48,270, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest-paid midwife makes $25,650 per year, while the highest-paid can earn more $100,390.

Top 10 States for Midwives Salary

Midwives in the following states make the highest median annual wage in the U.S.

  1. California: $137,300
  2. Oregon: $122,100
  3. New Jersey: $113,000
  4. Massachusetts: $110,600
  5. Minnesota: $109,900
  6. Connecticut: $104,000
  7. Iowa: $100,900
  8. New Mexico: $98,700
  9. New Hampshire: $98,200
  10. Maryland: $97,600

 

Midwife Resources

We compiled this list of additional resources to help you continue exploring a career as a Midwife.

Professional Groups

The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) – An accrediting agency for nurse-midwifery education programs that has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) – The national certifying body for Certified-Nurse Midwives and Certified Midwives.

The Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) – A federally recognized accrediting agency that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) – Designed to develop and support midwifery that is practiced by CNMs and CMs.

Blogs

Science and Sensibility –A research blog by Lamaze International that contains information about pregnancy, birth and after birth.

The International Cesarean Awareness Network  (ICAN) – Improves maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).

Books

Heart and Hands: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy and Birth – This book emphasizes independent midwifery, physiologic (natural) birth, and the art of nonintervention

Spiritual Midwifery – Includes resources for doulas, childbirth educators, birth centers, and other organizations and alliances dedicated to improving maternity care at home and in hospitals.

Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife – An inspiring collection of birth stories by a practicing midwife.

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