How to Become a Nurse Midwife

In order to become a nurse midwife, you will have to undergo specialized training on how to deliver babies. As a nurse midwife, you would have to provide care to pregnant women, from early in the pregnancy right through postpartum. It will be entirely your responsibility to attend to a woman in labor and through the delivery of her baby. You may have to stay with the mother during the entire process of labor. You will also have to look for any signs and symptoms that indicate abnormal conditions while the baby is being delivered.

Educational Requirements

  • You must have graduated from an accredited college or university.
  • You must be registered as a nurse before undertaking the training as a nurse practitioner.
  • You have to pass a written examination conducted by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM).

The National Certification Council (NCC) sets the certification exam and the standards.

Duties of a Nurse Midwife

As a nurse midwife, you will need to have undergone training as an obstetric. An obstetrician would supervise your work. You can also set up your own private practice. However, it is suitable to work in hospitals, public health service or family planning centers. You would be involved in duties such as these:

  • evaluating the condition of the patient and her test results,
  • educating women about health issues related to reproduction and
  • assisting women with delivery and labor.

 Career Advancements and Opportunities

According to ACNM, working as a nurse midwife entrusts you with responsibilities such as

  • helping women to play an active role in decisions regarding their health and lifestyle,
  • reducing infant and maternal death rate and
  • developing relationships and sharing work with physicians, nurses and other health care professionals.

As a midwife, you can perform clinical research, provide training to other health care professionals or prospective midwives and become a practice owner or director. You may work with the government in health care centers. You can look for jobs as a nurse midwife on

Work Environment and Salary

You can either be employed or practice independently as a nurse midwife. Alternatively, you could be working in birthing units or maternity hospitals. As a nurse midwife, you have to be acquainted with general medical equipment. Also, you should be able to handle specific instruments, like baby scales and gestation calculators. You have to work in the hospital in eight-hour shifts. Due to the nature of a nurse midwife's job, you may have to go to your workplace and attend to the woman in labor at any hour. Thus, there are no specific hours for this job.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a nurse midwife in 2009 ranged from $50,000 to $70,000.

Tips to Become a Nurse Midwife

  • Gain knowledge about various aspects of natural childbirth.
  • Become aware of things related to reproduction and providing care to women from youth through menopause.
  • Determine the program that suits you as a nurse midwife. You have options such as anatomy, breast feeding, health research and family planning, to name a few.