Nursing Midwifery

Nurse-midwives are health professionals who specialize in the care of women during all aspects of pregnancy. Explore the job duties, career outlook and salary potential for this position. Find out what education and licensure you'd need to become a nurse-midwife, and review what you'd learn in a degree program in this field.

Is Nursing Midwifery for Me?

Career Overview

As a nurse-midwife, you'd provide guidance and care to women from the onset of menstruation through menopause, including physical, social and psychological support. Most of your clients would probably be women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant and are at low risk for complications. Advice on conceiving, prenatal care and neonatal care, along with gynecological exams and assistance during delivery, are some of the services you could provide.

Nurse-midwives focus on using as little technology as possible during labor and delivery, and must be compassionate, detail-oriented and able to cope well with stress and emergencies. Certified nurse-midwives, who are required to have a nursing license and an advanced degree in midwifery, can seek work in hospitals, birthing centers, health departments, clinics and private practices.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employed nurse-midwives was projected to increase 29% from 2012-2022, which is significantly faster than average. The BLS also noted that as of May 2013, the median annual salary for nurse-midwives was $92,290. Most professionals in this field earned between $62,820 and $120,540 per year.

How Can I Become a Nurse-Midwife?

Nursing Education and Licensing

To begin your career in nursing-midwifery, you need to become a registered nurse. This involves earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing and passing a national licensure exam.

Midwifery Education and Certification

With your nursing degree in hand, you can pursue a master's degree in nurse-midwifery from a school that's approved by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Doctoral degree programs are less common but are also available.

In nurse-midwifery programs, you study human anatomy and physiology as they relate to reproductive science, including the changes a woman undergoes during pregnancy. You learn to assess the health of women and newborns, as well as teach new mothers to care for their infants. You may also examine possible labor complications and study the drugs used during labor. Nursing clinicals and practicums provide opportunities to assist professional nurse-midwives during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Upon graduation, you're eligible to take the certification exam of the American Midwifery Certification Board.

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