You are probably all more than aware that there are many different area’s you can work in as a midwife and whilst studying you will be placed in each area at some point. My favourite area changes depending on where I have recently been working. I’m a fickle thing!
The delivery suite/labour ward, which is usually more high-risk and obstetric led. You will encounter so many different scenarios within the delivery suite and as a student the level of learning will be fast-paced and in-depth. I always have a small notepad in my pocket because there are so many questions I have!
You will take maternal observations (BP, temp, pulse, respirations), perform vaginal examinations with consent and see cannula’s and epidural’s sited.
Women will often be on the delivery suite due to medical or obstetric conditions and the decision is made to put on the CTG (cardiotocograph). This will enable you to understand how to interpret the fetal heart monitoring printed out. You will learn what is normal and what is not.
You will learn about how hypertension is managed & how to care for women with diabetes as well as many other medical conditions. There will be women who need antibiotics in labour as well as caring for women who have had an induction of labour. You will be supporting doctors with instrumental deliveries and attending theatre for forceps or caesarean sections.
I often feel out of my depth, yet I never come home hating any part of it.
Community placement, where women book their pregnancies with the maternity team and attend antenatal/postnatal appointments.
You will complete paperwork with the women, take observations such as blood pressure, dipping urine, maternal weight, take bloods, palpate abdomen’s, measure fundal height and listen in for the fetal heart using a doppler.
You will discuss scan results, arrange any referrals, discuss birth preferences, give antenatal education.
Postnatally you will see the woman at home after the birth and perform any observations that are required. You will assess perineum’s and caesarean section scars, giving advice when needed and potentially refer back to the hospital.
You will perform the standard postnatal checks on both mum and baby, whilst also weighing baby and performing the newborn blood spot test.
The midwifery led unit (MLU), where low risk women come to birth their babies. Here you will triage women, decide whether you deem them to be in established labour and therefore ready to be admitted to the unit.
The women will be able to choose a pool to labour in if they so wish and one is available. You will take observations, and intermittently auscultate the fetal heart using a doppler. This is performed every 15 minutes when in the first stage of labour and every 5 minutes when in the second stage.
You will be able to offer immediate postnatal care on the MLU and discharge home from here.
The list here is not exhaustive and there are so many more things within each area that I haven’t written about. I just thought it would be a good idea to show you the sort of thing you will be doing as a student midwife and some of the decisions you will witness your mentor make.
As I said previously, my favourite area changes like the wind, but I think that’s a good thing because it means I obviously like each area.
As the years of study increase, so does the expectation of what you can do and how much you should know, which is a scary prospect considering I’m about to enter 3rd year! I’m almost certain I don’t know enough to be entering 3rd year but actually when I think back to when I first started and the difference in my knowledge base, I’m sure I’ll surprise myself!
As always, any questions give me a message over on my Instagram page @thelifeofastudentmidwife.