My name is Jubi and I am a Midwife and Childbirth educator. I have been a midwife for 5 years now. I work in a very busy maternity unit in Dublin, Ireland. Being a Midwife comes with its challenges but overall it is such a rewarding profession to work in. It has moulded me to be softer, kinder and more patient. It has also helped me develop some skills that I now call 'super powers'.
6 Super powers every midwife has.
1. Being able to hold your wee for 12 hours.
Yes, being a midwife means that you are able to hold on to your wee for long periods of time.
Depending on how busy your shift is, you may not get to go to the toilet at all. Toilet breaks during a shift are RARE! Especially if you work in a very busy unit.
2. The ability to hear a baby’s heartbeat through a wooden stethoscope.
One of the most commonly used and oldest tools a midwife has is a pinard. It is a wooden
stethoscope shaped like a trumpet that is pressed onto a mothers tummy and it picks up the
thumping of a baby’s heartbeat. The first time you listen through a pinard, all you might hear is
indistinguishable swooshing sounds of blood vessels. Over time a midwife will become able to identify the clear thud thud thud of a fetal heart.
3. Getting excited when we see poo.
This is a weird one but pooing in labour is a great sign for midwives. It is often a sign that baby is about to make an appearance soon. Because of the way the body is designed, baby has to manoeuvre their way through the pelvis in order to make an entrance. The rectum is pushed out of the way by the baby’s skull, as well as the contents of the rectum. This is a sign that baby’s head has almost completed it’s journey and will be born soon. How exciting!! Don’t worry, it is usually cleaned up pretty swiftly and is the least of our worries.
4. Being good breastfeeding supporters.
Being able to support new mums with breastfeeding is one of midwives’ amazing superpowers. Although breastfeeding may appear to be easy, it can actually be quite difficult, especially in the first few days after giving birth. Additionally both mum and baby have to learn how to breastfeed together. Midwives are fantastic for offering their expert advice and support when it comes to breastfeeding in the early days. They can help you to get your baby to latch on, hand express, feed baby in lots of different positions and just offer you support and encouragement. Breastfeeding can be challenging for some, but a good midwife can help you begin that journey and build confidence along the way.
5. Being a multitasking queen.
A huge part of my job as a midwife is to manage a large workload. For example a midwife working on a postnatal ward is expected to care for up to 10 mums and babies at one time. This includes women who have just had c-sections and mums who have twins. These women who may need extra care and support may be left to fend for themselves for some time while you try and get around to everyone. In my mind I have a list of unending tasks that need to be completed. For example this is what is going through my brain:
'Before my lunch break I need to: Take out Mrs M’s catheter, go back to Baby T and check their blood sugar, get pain relief to everyone, document the drug round, help Ms A feed one of the twins and then go for my lunch break.'
The list may grow even longer by the time lunch break comes around.
6. Being a walking encyclopaedia.
There are hundreds of policies that govern EVERYTHING you do as a midwife. There is policy for most clinical scenarios. Working in the A&E department teaches you very quickly what policies to use in different scenarios. A very common occurrence is the scenario where a mum may present to the emergency department with the worry that her baby isn’t moving as much on a certain day. Depending on how many weeks pregnant they are, the policy will recommend a course of action. If the woman is over 26 weeks pregnant the policy dictates that we would offer the mother a heart rate tracing on her baby and also an ultrasound scan to check that there is an adequate amount of fluid around the baby. These policies help to ensure that we give every woman a good standard of care.
Being a midwife can be challenging but also very rewarding. It certainly is a job that those who are passionate about it will enjoy. Some of these super powers are ones I wish we didn’t have to develop; like managing huge workloads or not getting to the toilet during your shift. But I do think it is a testament to how dedicated midwives are to their jobs and delivering safe care to mums and their babies.
If you are considering becoming a midwife, I would highly recommend reflecting on the type of midwife you would like to be. Would you like to be an innovative, confident and caring midwife? Are you passionate about promoting safe, person centred and evidence-based care? If so then this is a profession that NEEDS you.
Jubi is a registered midwife and hypnobirthing specialist. She uses her social media platform to help support women during and after pregnancy by providing crucial information that educates and empowers mothers so they can have a peaceful birthing experience. Known on instagram as @thecalmwomxn, expectant mothers can also book online workshops with Jubi through her website.
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