what is a midwife?

As a midwife, you are responsible for caring for women and babies during pregnancy, birth and post-delivery. Your job is to provide high-quality and culturally sensitive care to women and families. Midwives provide various services, including gynaecological examinations, prescriptions and labour and delivery support.

The services of a midwife depend on the certification and licences they have. Some have licences and certifications to provide additional healthcare services to women, from preconception care to newborn care. Others provide postpartum care for women suffering from postnatal health issues.

As a midwife, you provide reproductive information to women and families. When a woman conceives, you guide them throughout the pregnancy by providing prenatal advice about nutrition, exercise and pregnancy health.

Your primary role is to ensure a comfortable pregnancy and a safe delivery. Your exercises and nutrition advice reduce the risk of caesarean and minimise the need for labour induction. You help ensure the baby develops well in the womb and is ready for birth at the end of the pregnancy.

The role requires comprehensive training on pregnancy and birth. Midwives assist women with miscarriages and preterm birth problems by monitoring their pregnancy health and making recommendations. After birth, you are involved with neonatal care to minimise the chances of mortality by ensuring a positive start to breastfeeding.

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average midwife salary

A midwife with up to 5 years experience can expect to earn a salary in New Zealand from $64,000 to $84,000 annually. The remuneration package fluctuates based on the responsibilities you handle and your expertise. You are likely to handle fewer responsibilities when you are new in the role due to your minimal experience. For a midwife with over 5 years experience, you can expect to earn between $87,000 to $138,000 annually.

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types of midwives

Some of the types of midwives include:

  • antenatal midwives: your job is to support women throughout pregnancy. You perform ultrasound and antenatal screening and prescribe medication. You also monitor pregnancy health and prepare women for birth with exercises and nutrition advice. Sometimes, your job involves birthing or assisting women in low-risk delivery at home or in the hospital.
  • postnatal midwives: as a midwife, you care for the mother and newborn after birth by ensuring the baby adapts to breast milk and grows steadily. If a woman has trouble breastfeeding, you help her find solutions and improve milk production. You also offer advice on contraception and fertility issues.

working as a midwife

As a midwife, you support women and their families during pregnancy and provide postnatal care. Read on to discover the role's daily duties, work environments and career outlook.

medical staff in operating room
medical staff in operating room

midwife education and skills

To become a midwife you need to complete a Bachelor of Midwifery or a Bachelor of Health Science (Midwifery).

New Zealand College of Midwives - information about midwife education

You also need to be registered with the Midwifery Council of New Zealand.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.

midwife skills and competencies

To work as a midwife, you require the following skills and qualities:

  • compassion: as a midwife, you work with women in vulnerable conditions, and your ability to demonstrate compassion and empathy for patients is crucial. When your patients are in pain, you comfort and console them. Your compassion also helps you guide and support new mothers.
  • ability to remain calm: as a midwife, you provide antenatal and postnatal care to women. That means you often handle stressful situations. Being calm helps you deal with high-pressure situations. Your ability to handle stress makes you reliable in your role.
  • decisiveness: Pregnancy can be confusing, especially for first-time mothers, and they look to the midwife for guidance. When a patient is unsure of the path to take, it is important to be decisive and choose the best care for them. Your decision-making skills go hand-in-hand with problem-solving skills. Thinking on your feet during stressful situations helps you solve problems that arise.
  • listening skills: as a midwife, you guide pregnant women to make decisions involving their pregnancy. Your listening skills help you understand the specific needs of every patient.

FAQs about working as a midwife

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a midwife.

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