How To Become A Midwife
Being a midwife can be an interesting and rewarding career, as you’ll play an essential role in one of the most memorable moments of your patients’ lives.
Furthermore, the UK is currently in need of more midwives, so now is an excellent time to start a career in this area.
Interested, but still not quite sure what a midwife actually does? Read on for our quick guide on how to become a midwife in the UK.
What does a midwife do?
You might have a preconception that midwives turn up on the day of birth and help to guide newborns into the world, but their role starts much earlier than that.
Midwives aren’t just there for the delivery. They’re present throughout the pregnancy. They can advise expecting mothers on lifestyle and dietary choices and perform antenatal checkups to ensure everything is proceeding as planned. Essentially, they are experts on pregnancy and should be able to answer any questions regarding it.
Another facet of their role involves explaining the birth process to people to prepare and know what to look out for and when to get to a hospital.
At the delivery stage, midwives check on the position of the baby, administer pain relief where needed, and check in regularly with a doctor to catch any developing complications early on. They can even perform minor surgery like stitches, though things like C-sections are left for the obstetricians.
After the birth, midwives follow the health of the mother and baby for a few weeks. Then, they can offer more advice and reassurance and a friendly face during a stressful time.
Some midwives specialise in one or more of these areas, while others cover all three.
How much does a midwife earn?
Depending on experience and location, a midwife earns on average £34,000 – £38,000 per year, with an average starting salary of £24,907 in the public sector. More experienced midwives can earn up to £45,000 per year, while midwives in the private sector could potentially earn more.
What qualifications are needed to become a midwife?
To become a midwife, you’ll need a degree in Midwifery that’s approved by the NMC – Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Usually, you’ll need at least 5 GCSEs, including English and science, in order to qualify for the degree. Trainee midwives may qualify for an NHS annual training grant of £5000 – £8000 to part-cover their tuition.
What skills are needed to become a midwife?
Being a midwife, just like being a nurse, can be a demanding job, and you’ll have to stay calm under pressure. If there’s an emergency, they need to be able to recognise it and take appropriate steps to tackle it. Excellent communication skills can come in handy here.
Midwives also need to be empathetic, as they’re looking after mothers on one of the most stressful days of their lives. They will need to be mentally able to cope with any complications and physically cope with long hours. A first labour can be quite lengthy, lasting on average for eight hours.
Does becoming a midwife require any work experience?
Being a midwife does require work experience, but all midwifery degrees are 50% practical while the trainee midwives work under supervision.
That means that by the time you graduate, you’ll have plenty of experience across clinical, community and hospital settings.
Career prospects for a midwife
So why become a midwife? Aside from being a rewarding and interesting career, it’s also a solid career path.
Experienced midwives could become ward sisters or even consultants. In that case, they will be consulting with policymakers to enact change that supports both the midwives and their patients.
Even Consultant midwives still work in the practical area, so they are always aware of what could be improved upon.
Want to know more about the skills and qualifications you’ll need to become a midwife? Take a look at our wide variety of healthcare-related courses.