The importance of shadowing experience for aspiring midwives

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Do you want to be a midwife? It’s a very exciting career choice for anyone who’s interested in the process of pregnancy and childbirth. In this role, you would care for and support pregnant women and their babies, before, during and after childbirth.

It’s not surprising that many people who pursue this career are motivated by thoughts of the role they will play in helping to bring babies into the world; there’s no doubt that it’s a magical experience. But, if you’re choosing midwifery as a career based solely on these expectations, it may be time to take a step back and reconsider.

Working as a midwife is not all healthy babies and happy endings. For all the pregnancies and deliveries that proceed without any problems, there are just as many that end badly. Many women have complicated pregnancies that require vigilant monitoring and sometimes an emergency caesarean. Even if they do carry the baby to term, deliveries do not always proceed as planned. All of these scenarios are part and parcel of life as a midwife, and you’ll need the emotional strength to be able to handle these situations objectively while being a source of strength to your patient.

Even when a delivery goes well, there’s still a lot of blood, faeces and other bodily fluids that you will have to deal with. You need to give due thought about whether or not you feel squeamish about handling these.

If you have not given all of these things proper consideration, you could be making a big mistake in pursuing a career in midwifery. Going through all of the education and training to become a midwife and then finding out that it’s not what you expected can be a huge waste of time and money. As with most other medical specialties, it is advisable to spend some time getting a closer look at the profession BEFORE you embark on any studies.

A hospital shadowing placement

Perhaps the best way to get a closer look at what you can expect from a career in midwifery is to shadow a professional midwife as they go about their daily tasks. Gap Medics midwifery programmes in Thailand, Tanzania, Croatia, Poland and the Dominican Republic provide just this: the opportunity to experience what life as a midwife is really like. You’ll get a rare, close-up insight into the joys, trials and tribulations of working in this specialty. More importantly, it will help you make a more informed decision about whether this is truly the right path for you.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.

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