Midwives provide advice, care and support for women and their babies during pregnancy, labour and the early postnatal period. You'll help women to make their own decisions about the care and services they access and will provide health education and parenting advice until care is transferred to a health visitor.
You're personally responsible for the health of both mother and child and will only refer to obstetricians if there are medical complications. Work is carried out in multidisciplinary teams in both hospital and, increasingly, community healthcare settings.
As a midwife, you'll be involved in:
- monitoring and examining women during pregnancy;
- developing, assessing and evaluating individual programmes of care;
- providing full antenatal care, including screening tests in the hospital, community and the home;
- identifying high risk pregnancies and making referrals to doctors and other medical specialists;
- arranging and providing parenting and health education;
- providing counselling and advice before and after screening and tests;
- offering support and advice following events such as miscarriage, termination, stillbirth, neonatal abnormality and neonatal death;
- supervising and assisting mothers in labour, monitoring the condition of the foetus and using knowledge of drugs and pain management;
- giving support and advice on the daily care of the baby, including breastfeeding, bathing and making up feeds;
- liaising with agencies and other health and social care professionals to ensure continuity of care;
To practice as a midwife in the UK, you must be registered with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC). To become registered, you'll need to have completed an approved pre-registration midwifery programme, which lasts three years full time. Half of the course is spent studying at university, while the other half is based in practical placements to provide you with hands-on experience.
Part-time courses are available to those who are working in a relevant role and usually take five to six years. If you're already a qualified nurse, you can take a midwifery short programme, which allows you to qualify sooner than the three-year course.
Employment with us will be subject to satisfactory health clearance and a disclosure and barring service (DBS) check.