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Midwifery - Not for the Faint Hearted

Midwifery - Not for the Faint Hearted
Photo: Midwifery - Not for the Faint Hearted
On television and in the movies, giving birth often looks so easy and very clean, and a pristine baby magically appears after a brief moment of moaning and exertion.  But in reality it can be extremely messy.  The mother may vomit or lose control of her bodily functions during labour, which means there may be blood, faeces and urine to be cleaned up.  You need a strong constitution to deal with these distractions while still providing appropriate care for the patient.

The mother may be in extreme pain, especially during a natural birth, and may scream her frustration for everyone to hear.  If something goes wrong during labour, then the mother may be whisked off to an operating theatre where a Caesarean (C-section) is performed.  A Caesarean brings with it the sights, smells and sounds of a major surgical procedure including the small of the cautery tool, plenty of blood and plenty of pushing and pushing or even the use of forceps to get the baby out.
Midwives also have to deal with the umbilical cord and afterbirth.  The baby may need to be cleaned up before being presented to the new mother.  Midwives may also change the newborn’s nappies and assess the condition of its skin in cases such as jaundice.

While students may find practical placements confronting, counselling is available to help students deal with their training experiences, and ultimately in order to be an effective and successful midwife students must come to terms with the realities of the birthing process and its complications.

Midwifery can be an exciting and rewarding career, but it’s not all happy mothers and clean, shiny babies.  It can be physically and emotionally draining for the midwife, and like any career, there are good days and bad days.


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