• 27 July 2021
  • 8 min read

Why I Love Being A Midwife

  • Brenda Walcott
    Adult Nurse & Midwife
    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 0
  • 415
"You can trust me when I say that the rewards far outweigh the challenges in a midwifery career."

Brenda explains her love for the role of a Midwife, highlighting what makes the profession so fulfilling as well as possibilities of a career in Midwifery.

Topics covered in this article

Introduction

Meeting People At An Exciting Time In Their Lives

Ensuring A Healthy Pregnancy During The Early Stages

Helping The Parents With Resources

Birth Plans & Check Ups

Why I Love Midwifery

Introduction

Towards the end of 2019 there were approximately 2,500 midwifery vacancies in England that went unfilled due to a shortage of these trained professionals.

By the end of 2020 that number had increased to approximately 3,000 an increase of 20%.

There is a high demand for midwives.

My aim in writing this article is to explore the role of the midwife and why it is a great career choice.

I know I am being biased in not looking at the possible downside of working in this profession.

But you can trust me when I say that the rewards far outweigh the challenges in a midwifery career.

I previously looked at routes into nursing and midwifery when I wrote an article comparing the two roles.

So I won’t go into that now except to say that a direct entry midwifery degree usually require three years of full time study unless the candidate already has a nursing degree and only needed to complete the eighteen months conversion course.

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Meeting People At An Exciting Time In Their Lives

One of the great rewards of being a midwife is the opportunity to meet a lot of new people at a very exciting time in their lives.

When I spent one year working in an antenatal clinic, it felt like a great privilege to meet the women and their partners who are booking for NHS maternity care in pregnancy.

It may be the first pregnancy for the woman (or even her sixth) and at the booking, usually in the very early stage of the pregnancy, around eight or nine weeks, I get to share their excitement and anticipation and get to provide a lot of information about what to expect and how to keep well during the pregnancy.

When the patient books their care within the recommended time frame they are usually not ‘showing’, that is, the pregnancy is not yet obvious.

But after 16-18 weeks, though still not always obvious, depending on the choice of clothing, the midwife gets to inspect the woman’s growing abdomen and have a listen in to detect the tiny foetus’ heart rate.

It is usually a very reassuring sound, like the sound of a horse galloping in the distance.

It is normally a very fast heart rate of about 150 beats per minute in the early days of the pregnancy.

This can decrease to about 120 to 145 beats per minute as the foetus grows.

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Do you have any questions about Midwifery?

Ask Brenda your questions below

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Ensuring A Healthy Pregnancy During The Early Stages

As the antenatal care of each woman progresses and we meet them every four to eight weeks I see them blossom and really grow.

The foetus is usually quite active and reactive when I touch the woman’s tummy to feel his/her position and presentation in the uterus and also measure the height of the fundus with the disposable tape measure.

In the early stages and throughout the pregnancy the midwife provides or arrange for various screening tests to ensure a healthy pregnancy or to detect any problems that need treatment or anticipation.

The booking assessment can normally take up to two hours and include a full health and family history, taking blood samples to test for blood borne infections and blood group and haemoglobinopathy screening.

The baseline vital signs are also taken at booking including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and urinalysis.

At this first appointment I also enjoy discussing diet, nutrition, and exercise.

This is a topic I really enjoy.

So, while I am providing essential information to the woman and her partner I am also engaging in a discussion that is really exciting for me.

Because I love to teach and I have special interest in the topic of healthy lifestyle, you can image how fulfilling this role was for me.

Helping The Parents With Resources

Another interesting part of the antenatal journey that a midwife may be privileged to share in is seeing the first scan of the foetus and other subsequent growth scans.

It’s another exciting part of the midwife’s role that may even become a speciality, as an experienced midwife have the option of training further to specialise in Maternity Ultrasonography.

This is usually dependent on the needs of the hospital that would provide the funding and practice placement for this career development.

Following the dating scan the midwife informs the woman about the benefits they are entitled to, including maternity exemption for free prescription medications during the pregnancy and free dental treatment for up to a year after the baby is born.

We midwives also get to teach new parents about the amazing benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby and the wider society.

It cost nothing and has less risk of introducing infections and gastritis to the new-born, while providing antibodies that confer natural immunity for the growing infant.

We view pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding as a natural process.

But we are equally aware that complications can arise at any point along the journey.

So, it’s always reassuring that we are working in a team and can summon help when required.

At around 34 weeks’ gestation the antenatal midwife starts talking in more detail to the woman and her significant other about labour, pain relief, birth planning and breastfeeding/infant feeding to understand the woman’s thoughts and preferences.

And although we promote breastfeeding it is still the family’s choice on how they wish to provide nutritional intake for their baby or babies in the case of multiple gestation.

Birth Plans & Check Ups

Some women write very elaborate birth plans that details all their wishes for the special day that their baby enters the world.

Most hospitals provide a simple questionnaire that helps guide the women in the important considerations that she would do well to explore with her partner and with her midwife.

I would usually point this out to the women at the 30 weeks check-up so they can start thinking about where and how they want to give birth; with options for labouring in a midwife led unit, (on a bed or a stool, or to be as mobile as possible, to relax in a birthing pool with dimmed lights and relaxing music or sounds of nature playing in the background, and many more options) and to have as much information as possible or interestingly as little information as possible, depending on the woman’s preference.

On a midwife led unit there is also the option to have inhalation analgesia in the form of nitrous oxide (commonly referred to as gas and air).

At any point in the labour in this setting the midwife may recommend a transfer to the consultant led labour ward if anything becomes abnormal in the labour.

So if the woman starts having high blood pressure, or bleeding or say the foetus start dropping his heart rate, they may need closer monitoring and also closer proximity to emergency equipment, the obstetric operating theatre and senior midwifery staff and the obstetric team.

Obviously this can be very worrying for the woman and birth partner(s).

This move has to be done with tact and care, as the urgency of the situation allows.

The experienced mother or one who is open minded and informed about various possibilities in labour may be more prepared to adjust to such a scenario.

So a calm midwife who can reassure the patient and not show too much excitement about the developing situation would help them make this transition without becoming too alarmed.

Why I Love Midwifery

It feels great to me to be trusted to provide care to people on this journey of growing their family and going through all the risks, challenges, anticipation, and joy with them as they welcome a new precious life into the world.

It is the occasion of the birth that always thrills me and remind me of how great it is to be a midwife, getting paid to do a job that I absolutely love.

It is a great responsibility, and it’s very demanding but that just adds to the sense of achievement I get from this labour of love.

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Do you have any questions about Midwifery?

Ask Brenda your questions below

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About the author

  • Brenda Walcott
    Adult Nurse & Midwife

I work as a Midwife and an Adult Nurse. My current role is in a community hospital that specialises in rehabilitation of adult patients who have become dependent. My Adult Nursing career spans over 20 years to include Adult, Medical, Surgical Nursing. My special interests include women's health, diabetes, public health and Midwifery.

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  • Brenda Walcott
    Adult Nurse & Midwife

About the author

  • Brenda Walcott
    Adult Nurse & Midwife

I work as a Midwife and an Adult Nurse. My current role is in a community hospital that specialises in rehabilitation of adult patients who have become dependent. My Adult Nursing career spans over 20 years to include Adult, Medical, Surgical Nursing. My special interests include women's health, diabetes, public health and Midwifery.

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