wikiHow to Become a Midwife

Three Methods:Prepare for the Life of a MidwifeGet the Experience You Need to Become a MidwifeComplete a Midwifery Program and Find a Job

Midwives are trained healthcare providers who assist expectant mothers through the process of pregnancy, labor and delivery, in addition to providing postnatal care to both the mother and child. Midwives often assist women who wish to explore natural childbirth, offering emotional and spiritual guidance as well as providing primary physical care. This article provides information on the role that midwives play, the educational requirements for becoming a midwife, and midwifery career options.

Method 1
Prepare for the Life of a Midwife

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    Understand the multilayered role of a midwife. Midwives have played the role of assisting women through the process of childbirth for centuries. Midwives traditionally operate under the philosophy that pregnancy and the act of giving birth can be a spiritual experience in a woman's life, and it's healthier to have as few instances of medical intervention as possible. Many say they have a calling to do the work they do. Midwives have the following responsibilities:
    • Monitor the health of the mother and fetus throughout the pregnancy.
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    • Provide guidance to the mother on prenatal nutrition and self care as well as emotional well-being.
    • Educate the mother on available options for labor and delivery, and empower her to make decisions that are right for her.
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    • Guide the mother and child through labor and delivery.
    • Work with an obstetrician should complications arise.
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    Be ready to assume a high level of responsibility. Midwives are incredibly knowledgeable, highly skilled practitioners who take on the highest responsibility: they act as first responders in the unpredictable process of pregnancy, labor and delivery.
    • Since every pregnancy is different and subject to a range of complications, midwives must be able to act confidently in emergency situations. Responsibility for both the mother and child's life lies in the midwives hands.
    • Also important is the midwife's responsibility for the emotional and spiritual health of the mother, who looks to the midwife as a leader and guide through the confusing, painful, difficult process of childbirth.
    • Women who choose to give birth under the care of an obstetrician may work with a midwife who is responsible for acting as the women's advocate in the hospital setting.
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    • Midwives are responsible for standing up for their own profession; in some states, it is illegal to practice midwifery.
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    Be willing to make personal sacrifices. Midwives work with women from the beginning of their pregnancy through the labor, delivery, and for months and sometimes years beyond. Due to the intimate, extraordinarily important nature of their work, midwives must be willing to put their clients' needs ahead of their own.
    • Midwives must be on call at all times, since they never know exactly when a woman will go into labor.
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    • Labor can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and midwives must be present the entire time.
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    • Midwives are often emotionally present for expectant mothers, giving out their cell phone number and email address and making themselves available for questions or as a shoulder to lean on at stressful moments.
    • Some midwives have to be flexible enough to move to a different city or state, since it's difficult to practice midwifery in some locations.

Method 2
Get the Experience You Need to Become a Midwife

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    Get an undergraduate degree. In order to become a midwife you will need a graduate degree, so you must start by getting a bachelor's degree. Look into midwifery graduate programs to find out exactly what prerequisites you'll need. You should have a solid foundation in the following areas:
    • The sciences. Take courses in chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology and health.
    • The social sciences. Take courses in psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
    • Humanities courses such as women's studies and literature. If possible, study the history of the midwifery profession. Asking midwives about their views and experiences will help you gain more perspective on your planned field.
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    Get experience working with midwives. If possible, get an internship at a birthing center, or offer to volunteer. Contact midwives in your area and ask for informational interviews. Ask midwives what steps they took to achieve success in their profession.
    • Keep up with the trends in midwifery. This will help you figure out what types of programs to consider.

Method 3
Complete a Midwifery Program and Find a Job

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    Apply to midwifery graduate programs. Each midwifery program has a different "personality." Some require a degree in nursing before the midwifery study begins, and others are more focused on the philosophical, political or spiritual aspects of the profession. Find a program that's right for you and start the application process.
    • The majority of midwives working in the United States today are Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs). This certification is recognized in all fifty states.
    • It is possible to become a midwife without also being a nurse and become a Certified Midwife (CM). This certification is only recognized by a few states. Choose the professional path that is right for you.
    • Your personality is as important as your grades when it comes to getting into midwifery programs. Read books written by midwives and do research on the politics of the profession to inform your personal statement and essay. Demonstrate your passion for becoming a midwife. Explain why you think midwives play an important role in society today.
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    Complete the midwifery program. This will include a set amount of courses, a clinical internship and, depending on the program, a degree in nursing.
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    Pass the national certifying exam, administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). In most countries you are required by law to take and pass an examination in order to get a license to practice midwifery.
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    Find a job. You can look at hospitals, clinics, and birthing centers. Consider setting up a private practice.
    • In addition to practicing as a midwife, you can use your knowledge to work as an educator at the undergraduate or graduate level.
    • Health policy is another popular choice for CNMs and CMs.
    • Some midwives work at nonprofits or other organizations that provide advocacy for women making their own health decisions.


  • A registered nurse can also train to become a midwife. This process is generally faster than when a person with no medical/allied health background trains to become one.

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