Case Studies

Share this page

Select an icon:

Job Photographs

  • A man is taking a blood sample from a woman's arm.

    Taking a blood sample as part of a regular health check.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, making notes.  He is talking to a woman who is sitting in front of him.

    Taking notes about the mother's medical history.

  • A man is sitting at a desk. He is measuring the blood pressure of a woman who is sitting next to him.

    At each visit, the midwife must check the pregnant woman's blood pressure.

  • Midwife

Midwife

Introduction

As a Midwife you will care for pregnant women, before, during and after the birth. You'll also care for the baby. You prepare for the birth, advise on the care of newborn babies, and give practical and emotional advice and support. This career is open to men and women.

Video: - Helen: Midwife

Work Activities

As a Midwife you will care for and support women and their babies, from the start of the pregnancy to the first part of postnatal care. You will enable women and their partners to plan for and manage the time in which the woman is pregnant, and the birth.

A pregnant woman's first contact with you will usually come soon into the pregnancy. This might be in an antenatal clinic or in her own home. You might be involved in family planning services, for example, giving advice to partners who want to have a baby.

More Midwives now work in the community, in places such as local clinics, GPs' surgeries and children's centres (as well as visiting patients in their own homes). Others work in traditional hospital-based posts.

Throughout the pregnancy and after the birth, the pregnant woman might not always see the same Midwife. This is because, as a Midwife, you might spend some time working in the community, some time at an antenatal clinic and some time in a hospital ward. However, it is increasingly the case that you will follow your clients from pregnancy to the birth and afterwards (up until a month after the birth).

You will record details of the woman's medical history and assesses her health, giving advice on issues such as nutrition.

You must establish a close, trusting relationship with the pregnant woman. You will need to discuss a number of issues, such as where the birth is to take place (for example, at home or in a hospital) and how the expectant mother feels about different types of pain relief.

As a Midwife, you will examine the mother and unborn baby regularly throughout the pregnancy, to find out whether there are any problems with either of them. Most pregnancies are absolutely normal, but you will refer anything unusual to a Doctor.

You'll also offer counselling, support and education to pregnant women and their partners, often through special classes. These classes help future parents to prepare for the arrival of their baby and develop confidence in themselves as parents.

Throughout your work, you'll be part of a team, working alongside people such as GPs, Hospital Doctors, Health Visitors, Nurses and support staff, including Maternity Support Workers. You will also work alone and have a lot of responsibility.

Midwives are involved in delivering babies - both in hospital and for home births. You will be responsible for the delivery, and the care and support of a woman during labour, referring to a Doctor if there are complications.

Following the birth, you must continue to help the parents to look after the baby, giving advice on feeding and baby care, and ensuring that the mother is well. You can continue care for up to 28 days, at which point the Health Visitor takes over.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a midwife, you'll need:

  • the ability to build a close, trusting relationship with pregnant women and their partners
  • an open mind and flexible attitude, to respect and meet each woman's wishes
  • communication skills to discuss issues and explain aspects of pregnancy and birth clearly
  • an interest in science and the body
  • the ability to use a range of technical equipment
  • practical skills for routine examinations
  • observational skills to notice any complications in the pregnancy
  • teamwork skills, for example, to work alongside hospital Doctors (such as Obstetricians), GPs and Nurses
  • to be able to keep up to date with new procedures
  • initiative and the ability to take responsibility, for example, during the delivery of babies
  • awareness of, and sensitivity to, different cultural ideas about childbirth

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

NHS employees are paid on a rising scale within defined pay bands, according to their skills and responsibilities. The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting - Band 5: £24,214 - £30,112
  • With experience - Band 6: £30,401 - £37,267
  • Senior positions - Band 7: £37,570 - £43,772

Hours of work

Midwives usually work 37.5 hours a week. Shift work is usual, some employers offer flexitime working, and overtime is common.

Where could I work?

Employers are the NHS (in hospitals and in the community) and private health companies.

Opportunities for Midwives occur in towns, cities and rural areas throughout the UK.

Self-employment

There are also opportunities to work in the private sector as a registered self-employed, independent Midwife. Independent Midwives UK represents this group of Midwives.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, at Jobcentre Plus, on the Find a Job website, on the NHS Jobs website, and on job boards.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes and training

The direct route to registration as a Midwife is through a pre-registration degree in midwifery. You don't need to have trained first as a Nurse to take the course (although this is another option - please see below).

The degree combines academic study, in areas such as anatomy, physiology and sociology, with practical experience in maternity services.

Completing the degree leads to state registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) - a requirement to practise as a Midwife in the UK.

The Universities of Huddersfield and Keele run degrees with an extra foundation year for people who don't have the usual academic entry requirements.

You might be able to enter a degree course after completing a foundation degree in a relevant subject.

There are also a small number of postgraduate pre-registration courses (MSc or postgraduate diplomas), also leading to registration with the NMC. Courses are usually for graduates in science- or health-related subjects; some universities accept graduates in any subject.

The alternative route is to qualify first as a registered Nurse in adult nursing and then take a further 78-week programme in midwifery.

You might be able to enter midwifery or nurse training after completing a relevant Advanced Level Apprenticeship such as health and social care. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

The Welsh Government funds the education and training for a range of health professional education courses, (details of the specific courses can be found at: http://www.nwssp.wales.nhs.uk/undergraduate-education). To be eligible for a bursary you must commit to working in Wales following completion of your programme.

More information about the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme can be accessed on the Student awards Services website: http://www.nwssp.wales.nhs.uk/course-starts-on-or-after-1-september-20.

Progression

You could take further training to specialise in areas such as:

  • the intensive care of newborn babies
  • family planning
  • teaching
  • research
  • management

It's also possible to become a Consultant Midwife, giving clinical leadership to Midwives and other people in maternity services.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

This career is an exception to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must supply information to an employer about any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, if they ask you to.

This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.

Work Experience

Previous experience working in health and social care would be really useful for this career.

Qualifications

For entry to a degree course in midwifery, the usual requirements are:

  • 2/3 A levels where some universities ask for a science subject; they might specify biology
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 and above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 and above where specified subjects can be English, maths and science or biology

Equivalent qualifications, such as a BTEC or City & Guilds level 3 qualification and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, might be acceptable for entry - please check college/university websites carefully for the latest entry requirements.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Experience of a relevant area, such as health and social care, can be an advantage for entering midwifery degree courses.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications that are usually needed to enter a degree in midwifery, you might be able to start one after completing a college or university Access course, for example, Access to Nursing and Midwifery. You don't usually need any qualifications to start an Access course, but you should check individual course details.

The Universities of Huddersfield and Keele run degrees with an extra foundation year for people who don't have the usual academic entry requirements.

Other routes into a midwifery degree course can include an NVQ/Diploma level 3 in a relevant subject or modular course credits from the Open University.

You might be able to enter midwifery or nurse training after completing a relevant Advanced Level Apprenticeship such as Health and Social Care.

Alternatively, qualified registered nurses in adult nursing might be able to take a further 78-week programme in midwifery, usually sponsored by a health authority or NHS Trust.

If you've had a break from midwifery and want to return to the NHS, you'll need to complete a Return to Practice (RTP) programme that is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). These programmes refresh clinical skills, and there are classroom sessions to discuss theory.

The Royal College of Midwives offers an RTP course by distance learning, with London South Bank University.

Funding

To receive financial support from the NHS for a pre-registration degree in midwifery, you need to meet certain criteria. For more information, see the NHS Business Services Authority website.

If you meet the criteria, you'll usually have your tuition fees paid in full and you might get a bursary. You will receive a £1,000 grant each year. You can apply for a means-tested bursary of up to £4,395 each year (or more in London).

The NHS Business Services Authority can pay up to 85% of the costs of approved childcare for midwifery students. Full-time students with dependent children might also be entitled to the Parents' Learning Allowance, depending on household income. This can be up to £1,180 a year.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) administers a number of post-registration scholarships and awards for experienced and qualified nurses and midwives. The RCN also offers scholarship awards for pre-registration nursing and midwifery students.

Other sources of funding include local health authority trust funds and charities, although there are very few places on midwifery training courses for non-NHS funded students.

Financial support for RTP courses might be available, depending on your NHS Trust, and may include a bursary while taking the course, payment for the clinical placement periods, and help with travel and childcare costs. For more information, and to search for universities that run RTP courses, please check the NMC website.

Statistics

  • 47% of midwives work part-time.
  • 11% have flexible hours.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

NHS Wales Careers

Publisher: National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare

Email: abm.wedsteam@wales.nhs.uk

Website: www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/829/page/36090

NHS Jobs

Website: www.jobs.nhs.uk

Step into the NHS

NHS careers

Tel: 0345 6060655

Website: www.stepintothenhs.nhs.uk

Skills for Health

Skills for the health sector

Address: Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP

Tel: 0117 9221155

Email: office@skillsforhealth.org.uk

Website: www.skillsforhealth.org.uk

Queen's University Belfast

Irish enquiries

Website: www.qub.ac.uk

Open University (OU)

Tel: 0845 3006090

Website: www.open.ac.uk

University of Ulster

Irish enquiries

Tel: 028 7012 3456

Website: www.ulster.ac.uk

NHS Education for Scotland (NES)

Scottish enquiries

Address: Westport 102, West Port, Edinburgh EH3 9DN

Tel: 0131 6563200

Email: enquiries@nes.scot.nhs.uk

Website: www.nes.scot.nhs.uk

NHS Business Services Authority

Website: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk

Royal College of Nursing (RCN)

Address: 20 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0RN

Tel: 0345 7726100

Email: rcn.library@rcn.org.uk

Website: www.rcn.org.uk

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Address: 23 Portland Place, Marylebone, City of Westminster, London W1B

Tel: 020 7637 7181

Email: UKenquiries@nmc-uk.org

Website: www.nmc-uk.org

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland

Scottish enquiries

Address: 42 South Oswald Road, Edinburgh EH9 2HH

Tel: 0345 7726100

Email: scottish.board@rcn.org.uk

Website: www.rcn.org.uk

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland

Irish enquiries

Address: 18-20 Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, County Dublin

Tel: 01 6398500

Email: ncc@nursingboard.ie

Website: www.nursingboard.ie

Independent Midwives UK

Address: 4 Normanton Terrace, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE4 6PP

Tel: 0845 4600105

Email: information@independentmidwives.org.uk

Website: www.independentmidwives.org.uk

Royal College of Midwives (RCM)

Address: 15 Mansfield Street, London W1G 9NH

Tel: 0300 3030444

Email: info@rcm.org.uk

Website: www.rcm.org.uk

Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Scotland

Scottish enquiries

Address: 37 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 1EP

Tel: 0300 3030444

Email: info@rcm.org.uk

Website: www.rcm.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales

Email: peopleexchangecymru@gov.wales

Website: www.peopleexchangecymru.org.uk/home

Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith

Cymraeg

Welcome to Careers Wales

Please select your language

English