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How to Become a Midwife

Interested in a medical profession and thinking about how to become a midwife? What you need is a sense of responsibility, compassion, and some relevant qualifications.
Medha Godbole
Doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other health assistants play an important role in the health care industry. One such role is that of a midwife. This career can be really rewarding if you have the sensitivity, sense of responsibility, and a caring attitude.

Work Profile

Even though the connotation of 'midwife' makes this career sound limited only to women, it can be done by men as well. These professionals provide prenatal care to expecting mothers and attend to the delivery of the baby. In addition to this, he/she gives postpartum care to the mother as well as the infant, which includes breastfeeding as well.
The International Confederation of Midwives defines the term as follows: A midwife is a person who, having been regularly admitted to a midwifery educational program, that is duly recognized in the country in which it is located, has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practice midwifery.
The educational program may be an apprenticeship, a formal university program, or a combination of both. In addition to this, midwives are specialists in low-risk pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care. They are trained not to intervene in the process unless imperative, and if they find a problem that is beyond their area of expertise, they refer women to obstetricians. However, minor deviations can be handled by a midwife.

Process of Certification

Step #1

You first need to look at the qualifications required in your state for starting this career. This is because, all states do not give licenses to midwives, whereas in some states, midwives are allowed to practice only under the supervision of a certified nurse midwife or an obstetrician. A certified nurse midwife is a registered nurse trained for supervising births. In a few states, midwives are allowed to look after low-risk deliveries at home.

Step #2

It is important to know, that a certified professional designation by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM), is required in many states, for licensing. Further, mostly these are licensed for out of hospital births. It is always better to check the requirements and enroll in a certified course, thereby avoiding any problems.

Step #3

To start off, you can either join a program certified and accredited by Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) or can meet equivalent requirements as put down by NARM. MEAC certifies correspondence as well as classroom based programs.

Step #4

Apprenticeship or training is crucial in such a profession, as what you learn theoretically has to be practically implemented. The basic requirement is to get hands on training with experienced midwives. Therefore, to get the NARM certification, you have to attend at least 20 deliveries as an active participant.
There too, 10 of them should be within 3 years of application for certification. Then, you must attend to 20 births as a primary midwife under supervision. Amongst those 20, 10 must be outside a hospital and 3 of them must be for women, for whom you have done 4 prenatal visits, a postpartum exam, and a newborn exam.
You have to also appear and perform 75 prenatal exams, including 20 initial exams, as primary midwife under supervision. Then, you need to have done 20 newborn exams and finally, 40 postpartum exams.
There! It was quite an exhausting list, right? But if you really want to follow this career path, I guess, all this would not seem a burden for you! All the Best!