To become a midwife you need excellent communication skills and a caring, calm manner.
You will mainly work with pregnant women who need your support and advice during pregnancy, labour and the early postnatal stage. Your expertise allows women to make their own care decisions and take their first steps as a parent.
As a midwife you respond to the individual needs of women and their families, playing a key role in health promotion, antenatal education and reproductive health.
City, University of London has been educating midwives for over 120 years, historically as the St Bartholomew School of Nursing and Midwifery and as it is today within City's School of Health Sciences.
We prepare you for life as a midwife, combining theoretical study and clinical experience with London’s diverse populations in leading hospitals and community settings.
What can I expect as a midwife?
Expectant and new parents will look to you as the childbirth expert, but your responsibilities will vary.
- Give full antenatal care including parenting classes and clinical examinations
- Identify high-risk pregnancies
- Monitor women and support them during labour and birthing
- Teach new and expectant mothers how to feed and care for their babies
- Assess care requirements and writing care plans
- Give emotional support and reassurance to women and their partners
- Help parents cope with miscarriage, termination, stillbirth and neonatal death
- Keep records up to date
- Teach student midwives.
The environment of your work may range from hospitals and midwifery-led maternity units to the homes of expectant mothers.
You are likely to work with women from different backgrounds, so you need the skills to confidently and calmly communicate with everyone. Patients may be homeless, disabled, very young, or have specific needs relating to their religion.
Pregnancies do not always happen as planned and you will need to offer compassionate support concerning stillbirth, miscarriage, termination, neonatal death and neonatal abnormalities.
You may also be exposed to physically and mentally challenging situations such as domestic abuse. Midwifery is a genuinely amazing and deeply rewarding profession, but a level of mental resilience is required.
Related courses at City
Whatever your level of interest in becoming a midwife, City's courses can help you take one step closer to a career, develop specialisms that'll set you apart from the field or broaden your horizons with study in related subjects.
Who can I work for as a midwife?
Midwives in the UK are most often employed by the National Health Service (NHS).
You may work in the maternity units of large hospitals, smaller stand-alone maternity units, private maternity hospitals, group practices, birth centres, general practices and in the community.
After an amount of experience has been gained, you might consider self-employment. University hospitals employ midwives in joint partnerships to work in lecturer-practitioner positions or conduct research.
Midwifery services are increasingly moving into the community from hospitals, which may be reflected in your work setting.
What about midwifery work experience?
Relevant work experience will be helpful when it comes to seeking employment and should be relatively simple to find.
Experience could range from supporting young parents to volunteering with breastfeeding groups or charities. You might directly approach local community centres or charities for those who have suffered miscarriage or bereavement.
You will have clinical experience in hospitals and community settings as part of your course at City. But proactively gaining experience will help to show your commitment to midwifery. It may also give you the edge when it comes to getting a job.
What are my prospects as a midwife?
As you gain experience as a midwife you may have the opportunity to develop clinical specialisms in certain areas. These areas might include antenatal screening, intensive care neonatal units, parenting education or home birthing.
It could be that you work your way to becoming a consultant midwife and combine regular practice time with leading wider improvements in practice.
Senior management opportunities within local authorities may appeal at a certain point in your career, while options to branch into teaching or research could also remain open.