Midwifery can pertain to the practice of, care and services provided by midwives. Midwives are health professionals that support women during pregnancy, birth and recovery. Services that they can perform include check-ups, education and advice, birth assistance and guidance for taking care of newborn babies. In addition, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) states that midwives are also recognised as trained professionals who provide care including “preventative measures, promotion of normal birth, detection of complications, accessing of medical care or other appropriate assistance and carrying out emergency measures.”
Highlighted courses and degrees in midwifery
A significant number of institutions have general education requirements for most bachelor degree programs. General education courses include basic or introductory topics on sciences, mathematics, and humanities.
Undergoing a degree program in midwifery generally means having to take courses in midwifery sciences (biology, chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and related topics), basic health skills, midwifery care, ethics and law, and additional courses that cover relevant issues on midwifery and professional development.
Most midwifery curriculums, and subsequently their required courses, are devoted to both theory and practice. As such, requirements or forms of assessment may include exams and other written work plus clinical practice through placements carried out through the school and partner institutions.
Specialist expertise in the field of midwifery can be developed in the practice of the profession, either as part of the required clinical experience indicated in the curriculum or after completing the program and gaining professional experience. Some areas that midwives can specialise include, family planning and managing pregnancy in women with long-term conditions.
The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates. An example of a body granting accreditation would be the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education or ACME as recognised by the United States Department of Education. Another recognised accrediting agency is the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council or MEAC.
Graduates of midwifery degree programs will need to sit and pass a national certification examination in order to become certified midwives. In some countries, they must also go through a registration process in order to be able to practice as midwives.
A degree in midwifery can typically take around three to four years of full-time study. The exact period of time would depend on the university of your choice and the country wherein it is located.
Those who would like to pursue further studies after completing a bachelor’s degree in midwifery and gaining considerable professional midwife experience can look into taking a master’s program. There is an availability of master’s degree programs in midwifery as well as nursing-midwifery.
Like with most degree programs, entrance into a midwifery degree program varies from institution to institution. For first year applicants, some universities may require applicants to take an entrance exam, while some will take into consideration national or standard exams. A number of universities also take into consideration advanced placement exams, while some consider transfer credits for post-secondary students or transfer applicants.
High marks in different subjects (in this case, particularly in the sciences such as biology, chemistry or physics) in standard exams are likely to benefit an application. Various community-based and/or leadership experiences may also often taken into consideration. Some institutions also require a letter of intent or an application essay.
For a complete list of requirements, you are advised to check out or contact the institution you are interested in applying to.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
Those who complete a midwifery degree program and sit and pass the certification exam generally go on to practice as midwives. A midwife’s work can based in a variety of settings, such as clinics, hospitals, birthing centres or in patient’s homes, although direct entry midwives (as compared to nurse-midwives) practice is more present in home births and birth centres rather than hospitals.
Another aspect that may help individuals further their careers is mentoring. The likelihood of benefiting from experienced mentors and teachers should be factor to consider when choosing which institution to pursue studies in midwifery.
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