What role does the midwife involve?


Midwifery is one of the most exciting and rewarding careers you can pursue, and is something many operating in neonatal nursing jobs aim to achieve.

What does the job involve?

Many people assume that the midwife’s role is simply to help deliver babies, but this is not the case. Midwifery involves caring for the mother, the father and the baby both before and after the baby is born. Midwives are an important source of support, information and advice for expectant parents and also play an extremely important role after the baby is born.

Pregnant women are put in touch with a midwife when their pregnancy is confirmed. They will see a midwife at various points during their pregnancy and the midwife will help to answer any questions, monitor their general health and wellbeing, ease worries and concerns and be a general source of support for the mother. Often, expectant parents are anxious and nervous about the arrival of their baby, especially if it is their first child and they may have lots of questions and queries. The midwife can help to reassure them and give them advice about parenting, labour and birth.

During labour, midwives can literally play a vital role – they will be there throughout the birth to reassure the parents, administer pain relief, encourage the mother with her breathing, talk her through the different stages of labour and eventually deliver the baby. If there are complications, the midwife may call for additional help from an obstetrician.


After the baby has been born, the midwife will continue to care for the mother and baby. Usually the midwife visits the mother at home a couple of times to check the health of both the mother and baby and offer advice and support during the first ten days. When the midwife is happy that the mother and baby are both well and the parents are coping well, they will stop visiting the mother and a health visitor will take over this duty.

What qualities does a midwife need?

Being a midwife may seem to be a lovely job on the surface. Many people have a rose-tinted image of neonatal nursing careers but being a midwife is very physically and emotionally draining and there are challenges which you will have to confront on a daily basis; sometimes, there are complications and you will have to act fast, under pressure. As with all jobs in medicine, there is not always a happy ending and you will be required to offer emotional support and counselling for parents who have lost a baby or have a baby that is very ill.

midwife-1Midwives work long hours and are required to work night shifts, evening shifts, weekends and bank holidays.

In order to be a midwife it is important to be understanding, patient, compassionate and sympathetic. You will also need good communication and social skills and you should have an understanding of practical and cultural matters related to childbirth.


How do you become a midwife?

In order to become a midwife you must complete a midwifery course. Many higher education institutions offer midwifery courses and they have different entry requirements, so it is important to check with the individual organisation. The courses combine academic study with practical training and students will complete practical placements in clinical settings in addition to written assessments, practical assessments and exams.