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#1 of 16 Old 01-13-2011, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have wanted to become a midwife for some time now but I'm a bit confused by how to go about doing this. I am currently studying mathematics at a 4-year university but I have been informed that a technical college in my state is to begin offering an associates in midwifery. I was really excited and planned to enroll as soon as it became available, but I recently heard some people discussing self study and I was wondering what this really entailed. I was wondering if someone could answer a few questions I have (I know some might seem very dumb, but I'm kind of confused). Does this mean just studying on your own or through distance learning, and trying to find an apprenticeship? Can you take the NARM exam if you have no degree (I know a lot of people don't want to take this)? How is the job market for this type of study? Do many people employ midwives without certification or degrees? If there is anything you can tell me about this approach, especially from personal experience, I would really appreciate it.

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#2 of 16 Old 01-13-2011, 03:07 PM
 
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It sounds like you are not sure of what kind of midwife you want to be.  How you need to educate yourself is dependent on who you want to be.  I would sit down and describe what kind of a midwife you want to be.  Who do you want to serve?  Where do you want to serve them?  What kind of care do you want to provide? what is your philosophy about birth?  What kind of midwife would you want to hire for yourself?

 

Once you have a clear picture, then you can find the appropriate educational path.


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#3 of 16 Old 01-13-2011, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to be a very hands-off home birth midwife. I really believe in the traditional role of the midwife and that birth is a completely natural process. I would really like to go the self study route if this method seems to be effective and actually has job opportunities. I'm not in it for the money but I do want to be able to support my family and not put all of the strain on my husband especially after he has supported my ambition for so long. I just wanted to know if people have been successful doing this and if so, how?

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#4 of 16 Old 01-14-2011, 01:46 PM
 
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I guess I got confused by the word job and was thinking you were talking about working for a birth center or hospital upsidedown.gif which of course wouldn't go along with self-study at all.

 

I am not doing self-study.  I am attending AAMI and if your goal is to be a hands off midwife I highly recommend you check it out.  Self study is absolutely valid IMO but it puts a larger burden on you to cover all the bases and it's hard to know what to study before you start IYKWIM.   I know that I needed a guide to follow.  I also get a lot of support and encouragement as well as additional educational opportunities with AAMI than I would get on my own.

 

I don't recommend you take a college course if hands-off homebirth is what you are looking for.  I suspect it would either be a waste of time and money and/or try to pull you into a more fearful mindset about birth.  AAMI is better quality, cheaper, and more in line with what you are looking for.

 

As for being hired, it has been my experience that parents care more about interpersonal relationships and experience than where you got your academics.  Remember that all midwives used to get there through self-study.  College courses are not only a new thing but are a part of the assimilation process of midwifery into the medical system.

 

Legality is a whole different ball game.  Depending on where you live there may be certain restrictions on midwives.  It really depends on if you care and if you are willing to follow them.  If you decide that you want to join the system and jump through licensure hoops, you may be required to be educated in a particular way.  I am choosing not to become a CPM through NARM or accept licensure.  So for me it is all about the mothers and families I serve and how I can best prepare myself rather than politics.

 

I hope this helps!


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#5 of 16 Old 01-14-2011, 01:48 PM
 
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Oh, an yes right now you can take the NARM exam without a college degree.  The NARM requirements are really quite low and were developed as a way to get 3rd party reimbursement, not to prove mastery of knowledge.


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#6 of 16 Old 01-14-2011, 04:13 PM
 
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Ok, I was going to type up how I feel about this but I wouldnt be a productive conversation.

 

Dont let people tell you if you are licensed or go to an accredited school or program that you wont trust birth and wont serve women. They cant tell you how you will practice and how you will serve women. Yeah, you may have regulations but you will help a lot of woemn also. Just ask all the women on here how so badly want a homebirht but cant becuase they cant afford $3500 out of pocket and their midwife wont do payment plans after the birth. Im one of them....so I know how this feels.  

 

Look at WHO you want to serve and then go from there. Then you can decide if you want to selfstudy, or go to a program (accredited or not) You can decide if you want to be licensed or not, or even if you wanto to be a CNM. There are lots of different ways to work, and you can do any of them and still keep your beliefs and serve women.

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#7 of 16 Old 01-14-2011, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies. I originally wanted to attend this college because it actually would be free for me. I scored a 32 on my ACT and had a high GPA in school so Louisiana pays for 4 years of my education depending on the college. I have already completed two years so I guess its convenient that it is a two year degree. I really just want to serve women as best as I can because I know how difficult it is to find a midwife, especially a good one. I don't really think that going to a school would change my opinion of birth because I rarely absorb other people's opinions. I was wondering if you can become a CPM through self study though.

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#8 of 16 Old 01-15-2011, 01:44 PM
 
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Yes you can become a CPM through self study. You can go to NARM's website and check it out. It is called the PEP (Portfolio Evaluation Process) The CIB lists the books used for the NARM exam so you could use these as your "study guide." For my family, PEP was the only viable option because I will have to pay for my clinical experience. My dh and I decided to reserve our funds to go towards that. I have spoken with several midwives who did the PEP and they all said the same things- #1 Don't be in a hurry and #2 You have to be self motivated to be successful with PEP. I have just begun and, using the CIB (ordered from NARM, or you can see it on the website) I have begun to gather the books needed. From my understanding, the most important thing you do with PEP is find a preceptor. Local is best, but there are many high volume birth centers that will let you learn there. They do cost a lot of money though and would be very difficult to attend if you had young children.   

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#9 of 16 Old 01-15-2011, 03:15 PM
 
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I never said that you can't serve women or be a good midwife if you attend an accredited school.  I am saying that being in an environment where the focus is not on being a 'hands off' server of women, does have an effect on people.  We say it all the time about doctors don't we?  We say that they fear birth because that is how they were trained.  That focusing on learning about everything that can go wrong and how to manage it creates a lot of the problems in obstetrics today.

 

Well it's the same with midwifery.  It's not that you can't be who you want to be, but that you might have to work harder to maintain your point of view.  I apprenticed with a very hands off midwife but still, there were certain things in my apprenticeship which I was subconsciously taught to be afraid of.  It's not that I will always be afraid of those things, but I do find myself having to put extra effort into regaining perspective on it.  Students will be effected by their learning modality no matter how strong their convictions.  I think it's important to go into it knowing who you are and also choosing a program that will help you develop in the way you desire.  It's very easy to be drawn into fear-based attitudes without even realizing it.

 

Midwifery IS being co-opted by the medical system.  If someone wants to be a medical professional then that can be their goal. But you need to realize that many of the things that have become standard practice for midwives are very medical and interventionist.  This idea that labor needs to be monitored and managed very closely at home is very contrary to the original spirit of why women started having homebirths again in the first place.  I'm not going to apologize for pointing that out.   I think women want and need truly trusting and respectful, non-medical midwives who will walk on the journey through normal birth with them.

 

And as for 3500$ bills and midwives that wont take payment plans, that has nothing to do with a lack of third party reimbursement. That stems from the same medical co-optation that I am speaking out against.  I would never turn down a woman who couldn't pay a huge fee like that.  I myself was helped by two midwives who got paid very little for my births because I had little to give.  In my experience, the really hands off midwives tend to be humble and desire to serve women as much as they can.  $3500 fees also go along with accredited schools and licensure.  When it becomes more expensive to become a midwife, we have to charge more to pay off student loans, and sometimes it can lead someone to feel like they deserve that higher fee because they have a more expensive education.  


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#10 of 16 Old 01-17-2011, 02:27 PM
 
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If you have the opportunity to get two years of school for free and there's a two year school with a midwifery-related degree, I would go for it! Seriously, if I had had that chance after high school I wouldn't have had to think about it.

 

My vote is: YES!


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#11 of 16 Old 01-17-2011, 06:22 PM
 
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Ladies, thanks for keeping this civil.  :)  I know that the opinions about hands on/off and how to get there can be strong.  Let's remember that we are all here to do the same thing--serve women and be a witness to their labor and birth.  How we get there is not as important as how we serve once we are there.  And every woman needs their own kind of midwife, which makes it a good thing that we have different paths to attain our goal.

 

I agree with pathui.  If you can attend classes for free, do it.  Even if it's "just" stuff like anatomy and physiology and phlebotomy, they'll be useful!  If you can get midwifery focused classes, do it.  You may choose to go further or in a different direction once you're done, but you cannot beat free, and even if it's to learn how you DON'T want to practice, free experience is a good thing.  One of the benefits of having worked under so many different midiwives over the years is that I have been able to pick and choose the best practices of the women I have worked under.  It's not always true that a more medical model will "ruin" you...for me it just showed me what I did and didn't want to do and why.


Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!

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#12 of 16 Old 02-16-2011, 06:13 PM
 
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I definitely agree with getting classes for free if you can. 

 

I started with AAMI (which you can't get a refund for, you start it and you pay the whole fee..) and switched to MTB. As a busy mother of six, homeschooler, doula, apprentice, and childbirth educator I needed something more straight forward for study. 

 

I took the NARM today and I will tell you the things that helped me: reading these forums for study tips, printing out NARM's CIB .pdf (check their site) and then taking it section-by-section-by-section and literally typing out responses, and then using Mental Case (flash card program). I had over 2K flashcards. I do feel like my study for the NARM *was* self-study as well as having a good apprenticeship and working with different midwives. 

 

I am grateful that I switched to MTB. I really wanted to finish in ~ 3 years and was willing to devote huge amount of hours weekly to studying. My kids are SO grateful that I'm DONE for at least 3-4 weeks with studying. I am too.

 

As for NARM being just for 3rd party reimbursement, I really wonder if everyone feels that way after taking it? I studied my butt off for that test (and I'm a 4.0 college student) and still am not 100% sure if I passed.

 

For 3rd party reimbursement - why on earth not? I am a fan of midwifery being as mainstream in the US as it is in other countries. I also can't afford for this to turn into the world's most expensive hobby. It is my career. It is how I plan to support myself & six kiddoes. I also refuse to practice unlicensed and risk that future for myself and kids. 

 

It isn't all or nothing. 

 

Btw, we do need to know what is not normal in order to be experts in normal. Let's say mom is running a 99.5F temp. Do we shrug it off? Is it a sign of major infection? Or does she get a large glass of water? I don't think it hurts my credibility as a hands-off midwife if I'm trained in NRP or know the various warning signs in pregnancy.  This stuff is important. IMHO I can be even more hands off because of this knowledge. 


Happy single mom of six amazing children ~ Charlotte 15, Bethany 13, James 11, Joseph 7, Noah 6, and Naomi 4.

 

Blessed to be a CPM/LM in Virginia and doing work that I love.. as well as blessed to have worked with talented midwives who shared their knowledge with me. 

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#13 of 16 Old 02-17-2011, 07:25 AM
 
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I don't have input but wanted to say congrats on making it this far and thanks for posting what helped you study.  Good luck!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsBridget View Post

I took the NARM today and I will tell you the things that helped me: reading these forums for study tips, printing out NARM's CIB .pdf (check their site) and then taking it section-by-section-by-section and literally typing out responses, and then using Mental Case (flash card program). I had over 2K flashcards. I do feel like my study for the NARM *was* self-study as well as having a good apprenticeship and working with different midwives.  


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#14 of 16 Old 02-17-2011, 03:02 PM
 
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Just wanted to add that the midwife I am studying under was a direct entry midwife student who also apprenticing under another seasoned midwife.  She attended tons of births and got her certification from an online midwifery school and part of her training was going to this town bordering mexico and she got her required amount of deliveries under her belt there.  She is now a CPM but not a CNM who are the only midwives "legally" allowed to attend birth in my state.  However, she is always booked and always at a birth.  She, not working under a hospital or an OB can be flexible with her fees and has a sliding scale for those who need it so there are always clients who seek her out who want that natural home or water birth but cant afford the 3500$ average for the few CNM's in the area who do home birth.  There definitely is a market for these midwives and I enjoy them much more than cnm's as their hands are tied with hospital policy or by their insrance guidelines or their backing OB.


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#15 of 16 Old 02-18-2011, 08:05 AM
 
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Absolutely you can become a CPM without a degree and with self-study. It can be a huge challenge though. I started with AAMI and then ended up finishing through self-study as that was simply a better fit. I completed the PEP route and became a CPM. However, I think I would jump at the chance to get a free education in midwifery. If that is an option, it would be so beneficial. You wouldn't have to put together you own curriculum, you would get feedback, there would be assistance to finding certain resources, etc.

 

I think there are many paths to midwifery and they are all equally valid. Women need all kinds of midwives who came into this work through all sorts of different routes.

 

For me, personally, more education does not equal with being more fearful. It is quite the opposite. The more I understand things, the better! This is a job with a lot of responsibility and women depend on me to know a thing or two. I became a CPM in 2009 and I am still not done learning. I am already planning out what classes I want to take in the future to further my education and understanding (I am thinking A&P, pharmacology, microbiology, and statistics... it has been about 12 years since I took a statistics class). I study a different subject each month related with midwifery to be sure I am up on any new research or standards of care. I am looking for CEU opportunities that will provide the biggest benefit to my learning. So, regardless of how you enter midwifery, there will always be more to learn :)

 

Good luck on your journey and I hope you find the right path for you and your future clients.


Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#16 of 16 Old 02-22-2011, 05:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsBridget View Post


 

I took the NARM today and I will tell you the things that helped me: reading these forums for study tips, printing out NARM's CIB .pdf (check their site) and then taking it section-by-section-by-section and literally typing out responses, and then using Mental Case (flash card program). I had over 2K flashcards. I do feel like my study for the NARM *was* self-study as well as having a good apprenticeship and working with different midwives. 

 

 

 

 

 

There's a program for flashcards??? I, literally, ruined my writing hand making flashcards for the NARM. It has never been the same.duh.gif


Amy: Certified Professional Midwife and mom to Max (11) and Stella (6).
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