How To Become A Midwife In Australia: A Complete Guide

Students want to know how to become a midwife in Australia with TAFE online bachelor of midwifery courses.


Are you interested in becoming a midwife in Australia? Midwifery is one of the most satisfying jobs in the health sector; after all, you get to play a massive role in bringing a new life into the world.


It is also becoming a more in-demand profession in Australia as the value of continuity of midwifery care and the vital impact midwives have on new mothers' physical and emotional health becomes more well recognised.


There was a time when it was necessary to become certified as a nurse before you could consider becoming a midwife. However, this is not required anymore. You can simply enrol yourself into a three-year Bachelor of Midwifery degree and pursue a midwife career without having to study any other type of nursing course.


You can also choose to undertake different other study options.


Read the post to get more information on how to become a midwife in Australia and make a difference in society.



1. What is a Midwife?

A midwife is a professional health worker who completes a midwifery course and obtains the required qualifications to practise with the appropriate regulatory authority.


A midwife's role is not just to help women give birth. During labour, pregnancy, and the postpartum period, midwives work with women to provide the essential support, guidance, and care. While this is a critical aspect of their job, midwives also assist women during delivery, pregnancy, and the first few years of parenting.



2. What Do Midwives Do?


A midwife is a health care provider who specialises in the care of mothers and babies throughout pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period (the first six weeks after the delivery). A midwife often receives her training from an experienced midwife through an apprenticeship program, and she may or may not have any professional medical background or training.


An individual who has completed midwifery training is also called a lay-midwife. You will find several midwifery training programs in Australia that last from one to three years and help you get a technical certificate.


The laws governing midwives differ from state to state. In some states, the practise of midwifery is banned, while in others, it is highly controlled. Some states even require midwives to get a licence (LM) before they can practise.


The position of LMs or lay-midwives is very different from CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives), who specialise in midwifery and are advanced, registered nurse practitioners.


In most cases, licenced midwives and lay midwives offer care and attend births at a free-standing birth centre or patient's home. Most medical offices and hospitals do not allow these types of midwives to work on their premises.


Furthermore, a midwife's malpractice insurance may differ from that of a physician. Also, it is crucial to note that medical insurance does not usually cover the services of a licenced or lay-midwife, but they typically charge a fraction of what a hospital would.


The role of a midwife is to examine the patient and her pregnancy and determine whether the birth centre or home birth is safe for the patient or not. If a patient is classified as "high-risk," she must be immediately referred to a doctor for further treatment.


Additionally, the midwife examines the woman for any abnormalities throughout her pregnancy. She looks after the mother during her labour and delivery and ensures that the baby is delivered safely. After the birth, the midwife checks the mother, examines the infant, aids with breastfeeding, and heals any lacerations.


The midwife usually visits the mother and the newborn the day after birth to evaluate their health, and even during the six weeks postpartum period. Overall, a midwife must stay committed to women's care and must ensure to practise within the legal framework.



2. Major Duties and Tasks of a Midwife


  • Observe, track, document, report, and assess the care given to women and their newborns, including their response to treatment.

  • Detect any complications that may develop for the baby and mother.

  • Provide information and answer every type of question asked by the pregnant woman and her family about treatment and care.

  • Arrange for relevant consultations and referrals and, if required, take emergency actions.

  • Offer clinical midwifery support and care for women, their families, and babies.

  • As needed, provide direct supervision to other health professionals who may be engaged in the treatment of mothers and their newborns.

  • Administer medication to babies and their mothers as required.

  • Collaborate with other healthcare experts as part of a multidisciplinary team to offer the best care for pregnant women, their newborns, and their families.

  • Contribute to the clinical training of students studying midwifery, medicine, and other fields.

  • Prepare women for surgical births and offer post-surgery care.

  • In collaboration with women, provide guidance and assistance during the intrapartum, preconception, postnatal and antenatal periods.

  • Conduct health education seminars and classes on topics such as reproductive health, parenting preparation, antenatal education, and breastfeeding to enhance the health of mothers and newborns.

  • Provide advice on childcare, nutrition, and family planning.


Note: A midwife's role varies, and every day is different depending on whether you're attending a delivery or performing antenatal, prenatal, or postnatal consultations.



3. What Study Pathway You Can Undertake to Become a Midwife in Australia?

To become a registered midwife, you can choose the following pathways:


  • The alternative option is to finish a Bachelor of Midwifery in Australia (three years full-time or the equivalent part-time).


  • You can also obtain a Master of Midwifery Practice or a Graduate Diploma of Midwifery. The duration of these courses is usually 12 to 18 months.

These degrees combine theoretical and practical experience in a variety of midwifery settings to offer you a thorough understanding of the various areas of midwifery practice.


You must finish your HSC (High School Certificate) with the relevant subjects and have an adequate ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) or equivalent to apply for these programs.


Note: For more information on each university's entrance requirements, contact the UAC (Universities Admissions Centre). Most institutions require you to have study experience in Mathematics, English, and at least one science course.


A First Aid Certificate may be required in some situations. If you do not have an HSC, you must speak with the institution directly about additional entry options, including STAT (Special Tertiary Admissions Tests ) AND TPC (Tertiary Preparation Courses).


The application procedure may differ if you want to complete nursing and then enter into a midwifery program.


To practise as a midwife, you must apply to the NMBA (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia). Midwives must complete 20 hours of professional development and renew their registration every year.


Remember, midwives who are also nurses might consider specialising in Maternal Child Health Nursing.



4. What Qualifications Do You Need to Study Midwifery in Australia?


In general, you must complete Year 12 to continue your education in midwifery. However, if you are a mature age student, the entry criteria to higher education courses may vary, depending on the university you apply to and other circumstances.


Before beginning your undergraduate midwifery degree, you also need to earn a senior first aid certificate that includes CPR.


Furthermore, you will get tested for Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and HIV, as well as other blood-borne diseases. You cannot complete the clinical portion of the course if your tests are positive, and, as a result, you won't be allowed to register as a midwife.


You also need to undertake a Police Check before starting your degree. This is a mandatory requirement for the program's clinical portion.


Once you complete your Bachelor's degree and have successfully registered with the NMBA, you can work in various settings, including neonatal care units, private or public hospitals, research, community hospitals, teaching, rural and remote health, and even aid organisations.


As you can see, the midwifery field offers a variety of study options. So whether you choose to study part-time, full-time, or take the accelerated opportunity to complete your course faster, you will always find an option that meets your needs.



5. Essential Skills and Qualities Required to Become a Midwife


Becoming a midwife requires a wide range of personal skills and qualities. However, the following are some of the most important ones required:


  • The ability to demonstrate compassion and empathy to their patients is one of the most crucial skills a midwife should possess. When their patients are in severe pain, they must comfort and console them while safely delivering the baby. In particular, as a midwife, you will need to provide a lot of guidance and support to new mothers.


  • Midwives deal with plenty of women and their families from different diversities. Therefore, the ability to relate and get along with all kinds of individuals is essential to become a successful midwife. Always remember to be respectful and aware of the social and cultural environment in which each birth takes place.


  • Another important attribute is to have a strong stomach. If you are squeamish of body fluids and blood, midwifery may not be the profession for you. Giving birth is considerably different from what's seen in the movies or television. The childbirth process might entail a lot of vomit, blood, and even faeces. If the notion of it makes you sick to your stomach, you should consider whether you could handle yourself in such a situation.


While midwifery may be a highly gratifying and uplifting profession, there will always be a part of it that is unpleasant and disturbing. Therefore, midwives must have a certain amount of mental and emotional strength to deal with this aspect of the work.


6. What are the Employment Opportunities for a Midwife in Australia?


Midwives usually work in the following areas and settings:


  • Postnatal and neonatal units

  • Maternity units in private and public hospitals

  • Private midwifery practice

  • Labour and birth units

  • Antenatal clinics

  • Practice with obstetricians (doctors)

  • Community-based health service

  • Birth centres

  • Universities

  • Childbirth and parent education

  • Caseload/midwifery group practice


Midwives have the opportunity or may be required to work in remote and rural regions. They can also have their independent practice, work with a doctor in private practice, or work with other midwives. International aid organisations and the Royal Flying Doctor Service both hire midwives.


A large number of midwives work as consultants and instructors and are self-employed. All in all, midwifery is a rapidly expanding profession in Australia, providing several opportunities to midwives to work in clinical settings, including research and teaching. Midwives can advance to managerial or supervisory roles with experience and, in some instances, additional training.



7. How Much Does a Midwife Earn in Australia?


According to Payscale, the midwife salary in Australia ranges between AU$54,000 and AU$94,000 per annum. The midwife's salary may vary as per the number of patients, skills, experience, location, or gender.


Now that you know everything about how to become a midwife in Australia, you are ready to explore multiple career choices in this field and have a successful career in midwifery.



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