Midwives often describe their job as 'privileged'. The role they have in preparing women for the delivery of new life makes them a vital presence during all stages of pregnancy, labour and the early postnatal period. 

As well as the satisfaction it brings, the role is demanding and carries a high level of responsibility. Midwives work in all healthcare settings in a variety of ways, providing women and their families with choices and continuity of care.

Working autonomously and as part of a team

As a midwife, you’ll mainly deal with women who are healthy but require professional support and advice to help them throughout pregnancy, labour and the postnatal period.

If there are no complications, you will be the lead health professional and contact for a woman, providing evidence-based information and helping her make informed choices about the options and services available throughout her pregnancy and labour.

A midwife’s client base often includes women from a variety of backgrounds and you will need to be confident enough to communicate with different people. Some women and their families will have challenging circumstances – they may be homeless, socially excluded, have disabilities or be very young, in which case you may need to liaise with social services.

Other clients may be from certain cultural or religious backgrounds, where high levels of empathy and intuition are important.

Training and qualifications

Becoming a midwife means undertaking professional education at degree level. Some midwives are qualified nurses who have chosen to change career direction and undertaken the necessary extra study. Others work their way up via a range of routes before going on to study for a registered midwifery degree. Some begin their midwifery career after a first career in an unrelated field.

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