Summary of profession

Midwives provide advice, care and support for women and their babies during pregnancy, labour and the early postnatal period. They help women to make their own decisions about the care and services they access and will provide health education and parenting advice.

Working hours, patterns and environment

Midwife’s work around 37 hours a week, including evening, weekend and night shifts. They could work in hospital maternity units, GP surgeries, midwife units and birth centres. Community midwifes go to clinics and visit clients in their homes.

Education and Skills

To become a midwife, a degree in midwifery is needed. Fulltime courses usually take 3 years. Half of the course is spent studying at university, while the other half is based in practical placements to provide hands-on experience. Someone who is a registered nurse, may be able to take a midwifery short programme, which allows the person to qualify sooner than the three-year course.

Job and Growth Opportunities

Midwives could take further training to specialise in areas like ultrasound or neonatal care. With experience, a midwife could become a ward manager or team leader.