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Midwife

Midwives give care and support to pregnant women and their babies, before, during and after childbirth.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £48,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need:

Full-time courses usually take 3 years. If you're a registered nurse, you may be able to qualify in 18 months.

Health Careers and the Royal College of Midwives have information on a career as a midwife.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has information on midwifery training and registration.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent listening and communication skills
  • practical skills
  • the ability to inspire trust and confidence
  • the ability to remain calm under pressure
  • teamwork skills and the ability to work on your own initiative
  • excellent organisational and time management skills

3. What you'll do

Most jobs are in the NHS but you could also work in private hospitals and clinics, or overseas.

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • giving pregnant women advice on issues like healthy eating
  • explaining options like giving birth in hospital or at home
  • running classes about pregnancy (antenatal) and parenting
  • checking the health of mother and baby during pregnancy

During labour, you'll:

  • check how labour is progressing
  • monitor the baby during labour
  • give pain relief or advise on ways to manage pain
  • deliver the baby
  • call a doctor if you notice any problems

After the baby's born, you'll give advice to families on caring for their baby.

You could also visit people's homes to check on mother and baby.

4. Salary

Starter: £22,000

Experienced: £26,250 to £41,000 (team managers and higher level midwives)

Highly Experienced: up to £48,000 (consultant midwives)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll work around 37 hours a week, including evening, weekend and night shifts.

You could split your time between working in the community and working in hospitals.

You could work in hospital maternity units, GP surgeries, midwife units and birth centres. As a community midwife, you'll go to clinics and visit clients in their homes.

The job is physically and emotionally demanding.

6. Career path and progression

You must renew your NMC registration every 3 years to show you're keeping your skills up to date.

You could take further training to specialise in areas like ultrasound or neonatal care.

With experience, you could become a ward manager or team leader.

With further training, you could become a health visitor, a director of midwifery or midwifery consultant.

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Last updated: 22 March 2017