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Become a midwife after the Au Pair stay

by Felicia on Mar 12, 2020
Become a midwife after the Au Pair stay
Here we are to the last article of our job series after the Au Pair stay. We hope to have shed a light on the numerous options that you have once your experience as an Au Pair comes to an end. Remember that au pairing is not for everyone and having made it through several months abroad with a Host Family means that you really have skills which you shouldn’t underestimate. Consider the Au Pair stay as a springboard for your future.
Let’s now delve into the last job of our list, a health profession that has lots to do with kids. Have you ever heard about midwives? Keep on reading to find out what a midwife is and how you can become a midwife.

What is a midwife

According to the International Confederation of Midwives, a midwife is a person who has successfully completed a midwifery education programme [...]. The midwife is recognised as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to provide care for the newborn and the infant. 
A midwife is a specific health professional who works with mothers and children during the whole motherhood period (including the “before” and “after”).

What does a midwife do

The tasks of a midwife are multiple and of various nature. Let’s try to figure them out.
  • Midwives deliver babies, and we are all aware of that
  • They help mothers throughout the whole pregnancy
  • Postpartum assistance: midwives have to take care of women, making sure that they are well informed about the medical services and care even after the baby is born
  • Midwives can intervene with surgical techniques, if the situation requires them
  • Assist premature babies
  • During the pregnancy, they do biophysical scans, examinations and regular checkups
  • They reassure and support the families, being in constant communication with them
  • Assist families after pregnancy loss
  • Identify high-risk pregnancies and adopt all the preventive measures
Midwives are not only involved in the medical part of motherhood but they provide mothers and families with the necessary psychological support, counselling and education concerning the topic. This is very important, since there may be cases of families with a difficult - or different - socio-economic and cultural background. In these cases the education is fundamental, in order to provide the families with all the necessary support they need, guiding them through their rights and the services they can ask for. Moreover, midwives often organize and take part in prenatal courses, which are special classes where future parents learn how to deal with pregnancy and how to welcome their babies.
A midwife can work in hospitals, clinics and even at home. They can be either officially employed by the state or can work as freelancers. Midwives usually work on shifts, like most nurses.

How to become a midwife 

The career path varies from country to country and in order to find out how to become a midwife, you should first decide in which country you want to work. In general, midwives have to pursue a bachelor’s degree and eventually specialize in a certain field of midwifery. In most countries, a license is officially required and you can get it after the graduation. Have a look at the various processes in the following countries:
  • Australia: bachelor’s and master’s  degree in midwifery are officially required in Australia. Midwives must be registered to the Practitioner Regulation Agency in order to become professionals.
  • France: a midwife or sage-femme has to attend a 4-year midwifery school + 1 year, in common with the medicine studies.
  • Ireland: the 4 year bachelor’s degree in midwifery is followed by 1 year internship in Ireland.
  • UK: three year of bachelor’s degree and the registration to the Midwifery Council are necessary in order to become a midwife in the United Kingdom. A master’s degree or specialization is also an option but it’s not mandatory.
  • USA: midwifery programs for the certified profession are what you need in the US
  • Italy: the midwife is called ostetrica. There is a specific bachelor’s degree which involves internships in the hospital (one for each year of studies), where you are supposed to assist 80 deliveries in order to pass the exams. The number of deliveries varies according to the University taken into consideration.
  • Germany: In Germany, future midwives have to follow an Ausbildung which lasts 3 years and involves both theory and practice. Freelancers midwives in Germany are also quite popular.

How much does a midwife earn

The salary of a midwife is very similar to the income of a pediatric nurse, since both vary according to the work experience and the former education. 
In the US a midwife earns from 30.000$ - when she begins to work - up to 70.000$ per year. In Italy and Spain the salary of a midwife goes from 25.000€ to 30.000€ per year. Working as a midwife in Germany and Austria, you would get up to 40.000€ according to your expertise and years of experience.

Skills and qualities of a midwife

Every profession has its specific skills and the midwife doesn’t make an exception. Apart from the technical competences, a midwife has to be willing to work under pressure and in a stressful environment, possibly in shifts with 24/7 availability.
This profession also involves soft-skills that are not less important.
  • Good communication skills: a midwife has to be in constant communication with the families and especially the mother. Every family and every patient is different, therefore communication skills are fundamental in order to interact with patients with different social and cultural backgrounds. Some women might be very young or very poor, they might come from a different country or follow another religion. A midwife has to make sure that every person receives the adequate service.
  • Patience and empathy: imagine how many questions a mother has right before giving birth. The midwife is a professional who has to be patient and answer to all the possible questions. As a midwife you may deal with extremely anxious or incredibly distracted parents. Take a good breath and be patient!
  • Good teaching skills: well, when it comes to questions and prenatal courses, a midwife has to be able to convey all the specific scientific concepts to the future families who are not experts in the field. 
  • Emotionally detached: Being a midwife is not easy because this job doesn’t only involve the miracle of birth but also tragedies of life, like miscarriage and neonatal death. You have to be ready to help the family to deal with their pain and to be strong for and with them.

Midwives and the Au Pair stay

What has this profession to do with the Au Pair stay? Well, as you may have noticed from our previous articles, au pairing is a rich and colourful experience that can provide you with many skills and qualities that can be applied to a huge variety of jobs. And this is the case for midwives as well.
The Au Pairs who have worked with little babies may be more likely to be fascinated by this career. Living the atmosphere of a home that has just welcomed a newborn is something pretty unique and maybe you are thinking about being part of it in your everyday life. 
On the other hand, midwives not only work with babies, but they assist families throughout the whole process, including the doubts, the stress and the happy moments. As an Au Pair you have already seen all of that and if you really felt in the right place at the right time, becoming a midwife can be an option for you.
Moreover, motivation and self-organization are the necessary skills to make it through the many years of studies and education; empathy is required in order to work in contact with people and families. You shouldn’t be afraid to take responsibilities - is there a bigger responsibility than taking care of people? - and you should also be able to communicate and to be patient. Do these qualities ring a bell? If yes, then you should definitely think about becoming a midwife!
 
Dear Au Pairs, this is the end of our job series! Now that you know what a midwife is and how to pursue this career, you have all the cards to make your own thoughts about what you want to become. Explore the options we gave you - from the social worker to the teacher, from the social media manager to the writer -, look beyond and start thinking about your future job. The Au Pair stay can open many doors for you: your experience and the skills you’ve acquired will help you in every field of life. Just be aware of them and never underestimate your qualities. We are not all the same, everyone has to find its path and for some people it may require a bit more time. Don’t worry and don’t feel pressured, take your time to think and to make as many experiences as possible. We’ll be there to advise you!
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