Midwifes help pregnant women by assisting them during their pregnancy, birth and afterwards with caring for their baby. A nurse midwife is similar to a traditional midwife, except they are also a registered nurse (RN). They have nurse training and specialized midwifery training to assist women. While other midwifes work independently, nurse midwives are often employed by hospitals, birthing centers, and other medical clinics.

Here are some things to know about becoming a nurse midwife.

What do Nurse Midwives Do?

Before discussing the requirements of becoming a midwife, it may help to know what your responsibilities will be. Some of your roles are more on the RN side, while others are more on the midwifery side. Some things you can expect to be responsible for include:

  • Assisting women during Childbirth
  • Helping care for pregnant women
  • Assisting with postpartum care
  • Breastfeeding and infant care instruction
  • Performing breast exams and gynecological exams
  • Family planning
  • Testing for sexually transmitted diseases

What Are the Requirements?

To be a nurse midwife, you must be first be a registered nurse, with at least a bachelor's level degree in nursing. You also need to have a graduate degree, either a master's or doctorate, in midwifery. Every state in the US, as well as the District of Columbia, require license and certification as a nurse midwife.

In addition, most clinics and hospitals require you to be familiar with medical software in their OBGYN department, and have technical skills with midwife tools like infant oxygen masks and umbilical cord scissors.

How Do You Get Your License and Certification?

The exact requirements for licensing and certification varies based on where you live. At the very least, you will need to complete the required education and experience.

The majority of midwifery programs in the country require a certain number of hours of relevant experience working as a midwife, and a number of hours or years as a registered nurse.

What Are the Typical Working Conditions?

Nurse midwives work in numerous different settings, so your working conditions will vary based on where you work. Hospitals, health clinics, home birthing clinics, and private practices all employ midwives on a regular basis.

You may also be able to choose from other jobs as a nurse midwife, such as in education, administration, clinical practice, or legislative affairs. You working conditions could be in an administrative office or as a teacher in a college, or in a busy hospital working with women and infants.