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Is Midwifery the Right Career For You?

Is midwifery the right career choice for me
Photo: Is Midwifery the Right Career For You?
Is midwifery the right career for you? If you’re interested in nursing as a career, then you might have considered studying midwifery. Midwifery involves assisting women in all aspects of childbirth, either as part of a team in a private or public hospital, in birthing centres or being involved in home births.

How to become a midwife in Australia

If you’re already a registered nurse, you can become a midwife by completing a postgraduate degree in midwifery. If you’re new to nursing, then you can study to become a midwife right away, without having to study nursing first. You would need to complete an undergraduate midwifery degree, such as a Bachelor of Midwifery, at university to become a qualified midwife.
Click here to watch a video showing a day in the life of a Southern Cross University Midwifery student

Important qualities for being a midwife

There are many personal skills and qualities required to be a midwife, but some of the most important qualities include:

  • One of the most important qualities that a midwife needs to possess is the ability to show care and understanding towards their patients. At times, their patients will be in great distress and they will need to be able to comfort them whilst also delivering the baby safely. New mothers in particular will require a lot of advice and support from you as their midwife.
     
  • Another quality that is necessary is having a strong stomach. If you’re squeamish when it comes to blood and other bodily fluids, then perhaps midwifery isn’t right for you. Giving birth can be very different to what’s shown on television or in the movies. There can be a lot of blood, vomit and even poo involved in the birthing process. If the thought of that turns your stomach, perhaps you should ask yourself if you could handle yourself in that kind of situation.
     
  • Midwives are required to work with a wide range of women and families from all kinds of diverse backgrounds, so the ability to relate and get on well with all people is imperative to being a good midwife. You must always be aware and respectful of the social and cultural context in which each birth is taking place.
     
  • Whilst midwifery can be a very uplifting and rewarding career, there will also always be a part of the job that can be very distressing and upsetting. Midwives need to have a level of emotional and mental strength in order to cope with this side of the job.

Midwifery in the practical setting

While you’re studying midwifery, you’ll be involved in practical sessions, which will involve observing women giving birth. This can be very useful to find out if midwifery really is the career for you. If you find you can’t handle being a part of the birth process, then you’ll be able to get counselling from your university and you may have to decide whether you want to study another area of nursing or find a completely new career instead.

Caesareans (or C-sections) are one way for the baby to be born when it’s not possible for it be delivered naturally (i.e., vaginally). Caesareans can seem very clinical compared to the messiness of a natural birth and you may not experience the range of emotions that you would during a natural delivery.

In summary

Midwives are very dedicated to their career, and reap the rewards by helping to deliver babies safely. They get great satisfaction by helping a new mother give birth, especially when there are no complications and mother and baby are fine afterwards.

Click here to watch a video of midwives across NSW Health talking about what midwifery means to them and their love of the profession.

However, being a midwife is hard work and you will be on your feet a lot. If you witness a traumatic birth that doesn’t have a happy ending, it can drain you emotionally. You need to be aware of this so you can counter the effects by being able to talk to a trusted friend or family member when you need to, or being able to de-stress, such as meditating.

So if you’re a caring person, fascinated by the birth process and you have a strong stomach, then you may be suited to midwifery. It could be just the career for you!


Click here to visit our midwifery practice hub

Click here to search midwifery courses

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