Midwifery is a profession that concerns the care of women during pregnancy and childbirth.
One of the first things that many people might wonder is what does midwifery actually mean? Well, let’s break it down for you in this article.
Midwives & childbirth
The first thing that you need to know about midwifery is that it is a very ancient profession. The word itself comes from the Old English, ‘midwīf’, originally a compound of ‘mid’ (with) and ‘wif’ (woman).
The concept of midwifery has existed since the beginning of human civilization. Midwives were, and largely still are, women who assisted in childbirth and also cared for women throughout their pregnancies.
In the US, a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is the only fully trained midwife professional position.
During pregnancy and the birth of a child, a CNM is responsible for taking care of the mother and baby. They provide care during pregnancy, labour, and birth. Most CNMs are also certified in prenatal care and basic OB-GYN services.
Midwifery has been an integral part of pregnancy and childbirth since ancient times, as these were the most critical times when women would need help. The difference between modern-day midwives in the US is that midwives now also provide postpartum services in addition to the birthing process.
Education & exam process of becoming a certified nurse-midwife
While midwifery has a long and rich history, there are many opportunities to become a midwife in the US.
Becoming a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is one of them.
To become a CNM, you must complete courses relevant to midwifery along with supervised clinical experience and pass an exam administered by the National Certification Corporation (NCC).
You can study to become a CNM via one of two avenues: through an on-campus program or an online program for nursing, such as an accelerated nursing program online. This option is usually the most well-rounded and allows nurses to do additional training to become a CNM.
Each has different requirements, and once you’ve successfully completed your education and passed the NCC exam, you will be granted certification as a Certified Nurse-Midwife.
Career options for certified nurse-midwives
Midwives provide care for women throughout pregnancy and childbirth as well as postpartum.
Some midwives provide prenatal care, labour, and birth; some also provide post-birth services such as caring for newborns in the nursery or assisting with breastfeeding. Some CNMs become certified to do both, and others are only certified to perform one of these tasks.
Most midwives are generalists who take on the roles of nurses when needed and thus can be employed in a hospital setting or outside of the hospital (for example, at a home birth).
Although they are not specialists in OB/GYN or medical care, CNMs can be specialised (for example, working exclusively with normal pregnancies or with high-risk pregnancies).
Nursing is a well-established field with many opportunities in it, so becoming a nurse who also specialises in birth is an ideal combination.
Certified Nurse-Midwives are required to maintain the same level of certification throughout their careers.
How midwifery differs from traditional obstetricians
So, you might be wondering what the difference is between midwifery and the traditional practice of obstetrics which is also known as modern medicine.
When it comes to midwives and obstetricians, there are some distinct differences.
The first main difference is that obstetrics deals with multiple aspects of a pregnancy, including prenatal care, labor and delivery, and even postpartum services, whereas midwives may only deal with the prenatal stage of a pregnancy.
The second huge difference between midwifery and traditional medicine is that midwives are trained in not only the birth process but in maternal health as well.
They take on a holistic approach to the health and well-being of the mother and child, whereas obstetricians focus solely on the pregnancy.
Another stark difference is in their certifications. Obstetricians are certified doctors who are trained in medicine with a specialty in dealing with pregnancy.
Midwives, on the other hand, usually hold a certification in midwifery nursing, which deals with pregnancy and childbirth.
Risks involved in midwifery
When considering midwifery care, one of the main things that you should know about is that there are risks involved, just as with any other medical practice or industry.
Risks of midwifery include blood-borne pathogen exposure, pregnancy-related injuries including haemorrhage, infection, etc., and accidental injury such as falling down and hurting yourself.
Some of the more notable risks that midwives deal with are infection and failure to progress in labour because of blocked or incompetent cervix or a failure to progress in labour for other reasons that put both mother and baby’s health at risk.
Should you become a midwife?
If you’re interested in becoming a nurse-midwife, then you should first think about why you want to specialise in this field.
You should think about what makes you unique as a person and how your skill sets will be of use to others. If you are passionate about the idea of being able to help women give birth and become better mothers and fathers via assistance during pregnancy, childbirth, and after birth, then becoming a midwife may truly be of interest to you.
The practice of midwifery has existed for thousands of years, long before medicine evolved. The care that CNMs provide is beneficial in so many ways and often as not much more natural than health care provided by doctors.
If you see the value in providing care that is more holistic and holistic in nature, then you should consider the possibility of becoming a certified nurse-midwife.
You might be wondering at this point if becoming a midwife is right for you.
If so, then you will want to look into the educational options and make sure that they are the right fit for you.
You’ll need to know the ins and outs of investing in certain programs, and becoming a nurse-midwife is as much about providing care as it is about earning.
If you are interested, then you should choose a program that will allow you to gain the necessary experience and instruction to propel yourself forward. Once you have made up your mind, then it’s time to get started on the road to becoming a certified nurse-midwife!
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