The Process of Becoming a Midwife

The decision to become a midwife is an important one. Many people believe that a midwife’s only function is to help deliver babies. It is important to realize that there is much more to this important vocation. Midwives advise on contraception, may order laboratory tests, implement physical examinations, arrange prenatal counseling and care, and educate women and girls concerning health issues.

The American College of Nurse-Midwives is an association for the two types of midwife professionals. There are certified midwives as well as certified nurse-midwives. Both roles require a certain degree of education, schooling and knowledge. Most midwifery education programs require a Bachelor’s Degree for admission. There are some exceptions for those who are already Registered Nurses.

To obtain certification as a Certified Nurse-Midwife, a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing is generally preferred but all types of Bachelor’s Degrees are accepted. Those without the specific nursing degree usually receive an accelerated nursing training curriculum before beginning the specific midwifery program. Certified Midwives also need a Bachelor’s Degree with additional prerequisite classes in science and health required.

There are also Certified Professional Midwives whose professional organization is the North American Registry of Midwives. There are various methods of completing education and gaining experience for these midwives. Some of these methods are currently possessing required knowledge, entering an accredited midwife program offering degrees and participating in an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships must meet specific requirements and the professional being shadowed must have the correct credentials and experience to adequately provide an acceptable apprenticeship experience. For those claiming to currently possess requisite midwifery knowledge, the North American Registry of Midwives requires satisfactorily completing their Portfolio Evaluation Process.

Beyond the typical certification, there are graduate degree programs to further develop midwifery skills. These graduate programs are typically two years in length. There are both Master’s and Doctorate degrees available in graduate programs for midwifery. Continuing education credits are required for all levels of midwifery.

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Differences Between OBs and Midwives

Most people who become pregnant automatically know that they want to go see their OB in order to make sure that the pregnancy is rolling along smoothly. They also know that they want them to be present with them when they have the baby. Some individuals take a different route and remain under the care of a midwife. If you are considering becoming pregnant, you obviously want to know what the major differences between the two are. This will help you make your choice in deciding whether you want to have an OB present or you want to utilize a midwife throughout your pregnancy.

There are actually a number of differences between the two but the most obvious difference is that OB is a medical professional that has been trained in both basic medicine and obstetrics. These are physicians that specialize in the field of obstetrics, meaning that they have had all of the medical training that is required of every other doctor and then they have gone through additional training just for this specific purpose. They usually work out of their own office or out of the hospital and they are almost always associated with a major hospital that makes hundreds of deliveries within a specified amount of time.

On the other hand, a midwife is often a person that has much of the same experience but does not have the medical training on a professional level. That does not mean that a midwife is less capable than an OB. In some cases, midwives are extremely capable of dealing with unexpected situations and helping people through rather complex problems. However, these individuals do not have medical training or the medical background that an OB is likely to have. The biggest risk is that a midwife may not be able to help you if you are pregnant and you suddenly have an emergency with the baby during birth. However, that should not take away from the fact that there are some very skilled midwives out there that are quite capable of doing a fantastic job. In the end, it really comes down to you making a choice about how you want your baby to be brought into the world and which method works best for your lifestyle.

Nursing Resources:
mana.org
www.thinkcnaonline.com
www.mayoclinic.org