Health & Care
Midwives support women and their families through pregnancy and labour and in the first days after birth. They work in a range of settings, including hospitals, midwifery-led maternity units and expectant mothers' homes, and are part of a team of professional and medical staff that includes doctors, social workers, neonatal nurses and health visitors. They may be assisted by maternity support workers and be responsible for supervising them.
- examining and monitoring pregnant women
- assessing care requirements and writing care plans
- undertaking antenatal care in hospitals, homes and GP practices
- carrying out screening tests
- providing information, emotional support and reassurance to women and their partners
- taking patient samples, pulses, temperatures and blood pressures
- caring for and assisting women in labour
- monitoring and administering medication, injections and intravenous infusions during labour
- monitoring the foetus during labour
- advising about and supporting parents in the daily care of their newborn babies
- helping parents to cope with miscarriage, termination, stillbirth and neonatal death
- writing records
- tutoring student midwives
- identifying high-risk pregnancies
Midwives may work on a rota and be on call to provide care on a 24-hour basis.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for midwives
- Ability to deal with emotionally charged situations
- Excellent teamworking skills
- Interpersonal and communication skills
- Strong observational skills
- An interest in the process of pregnancy and birth
- Flexible and adaptable
- Able to work with people from different backgrounds
- Able to follow instructions and procedures
- Caring and patient
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers of midwives
- National Health Service (NHS)
- GP practices
- Private hospitals
- The armed forces
- Independent practices
Vacancies appear online, in newspapers, on the NHS jobs website and in publications such as Nursing Times and Nursing Standard.
Qualifications and training required
You can only become a midwife with an approved midwifery degree that leads to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). You apply for full-time midwifery degree courses through UCAS and are likely to need at least two (usually three) A levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications. Preferred subjects may include biology or a social science. Courses last for three years and include a mix of university study and practical experience.
Candidates who are already registered as adult nurses can qualify as midwives through an 18-month short programme.