How to become a Midwife

Most midwives work in a hospital, on a birth unit or in the community. Some midwives are self-employed, working as an independent midwife either on their own or as part of a group practice. There are a number of different reasons and routes that lead people to a career in midwifery. Some decide it’s what they want to do at an early age, while others take it up later in life. It may be that the experience of childbirth, good or bad, has inspired them to become midwives. It’s also quite common for people to find their way into midwifery through another career in healthcare, such as nursing or maternity support work.

Midwife characteristics
  • able to work on your own and as part of a team
  • objective, non-judgemental and respectful
  • a good listener and communicator
  • physically and mentally fit
  • helpful and caring
  • patient, calm and responsible
  • intuitive
  • observant
  • flexible

If you have these characteristics, then you have just the right personality to become a midwife! Of course, you need to have an interest in the tasks and duties of a midwife too.

The following list provides a snapshot of what you’ll be expected to do on a daily basis:
  • offer emotional and practical support for coping with pregnancy and caring for a baby
  • monitor women and their babies during labour and after birth
  • identify and diagnose medical conditions and complications
  • examine women during pregnancy, labour and after birth
  • complete paperwork accurately and on time
  • provide emergency care as necessary
  • explain and carry out screening tests

In South Africa midwifery training is offered as a four year degree at some universities or as four year diploma at accreditated nursing colleges. The training is a comprehensive package of general nursing, midwifery, psychiatry and community nursing. Courses includes theory and practical.

Midwifery and General Nursing profession is regulated by SANC which is South African Nursing Council which operates under Nursing Act 33 of 2005.

After completion of the course, registration with SANC is compulsory and have to pay annual fees for one to continue practicing.

To become an independent Midwife, one needs to register with BHF which is Board Of Healthcare Funders to obtain a practice number and also need to pay annual fees as well.