Midwives draw on their experience and knowledge to help other women bring life into the world. The profession has been around for ever but it was only in 1999 that it was regulated in most Canadian provinces and territories. Plus de 21 maisons de naissance au Québec devraient voir le jour d’ici 2018.
The role of midwives is to assist women during pregnancy, labour and for a period of six weeks after that. This continuous care approach builds a relationship of trust with the future mother. Midwives are also involved in health education and promotion. They work in hospitals, clinics, community health centres, birthing centres or health services. Midwives deal with a lot of responsibility and their working conditions are often difficult due to stress, irregular schedules and being on call at night.
- Present the various contraceptive methods.
- Discuss family planning.
- Assess the pregnancy and monitor its proper development.
- Conduct prenatal consultations and courses.
- Administer medication during the pregnancy, labour, delivery and postnatal periods.
- Provide primary care for low-risk deliveries.
- Examine newborns.
- Work with other health care network participants and professionals.
- Care for mothers and babies for six weeks after birth.
EDUCATION AND JOB REQUIREMENTS
Midwives are required to have a bachelor’s degree in midwifery.
Furthermore, they must maintain up-to-date knowledge through continuing education, particularly in the areas of neonatal care and obstetrical emergencies.
- Familiarity with biology, anatomy and reproductive physiology
- Understand the impact of emotional, physical, sexual and social aspects of pregnancy
- Knowledge of the nutritional needs of pregnant and nursing mothers
- Awareness of how to prevent and treat the ills of pregnancy
- Ability to see the big picture, analytical skills and wisdom
- Openness (focused on the needs of the mother and her family)
- Effective communication skills
- Good physical health
- Good teamwork skills
After a few years of experience, midwives can turn towards teaching (science and medical-social techniques at the college level) or training in the form of workshops and prenatal courses. Midwives can also give conferences and participate in research projects, or become pediatric nurses.