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OK so i am looking for a good midwifery program but, i dont wanna be a CNM i am just not into that years of medical paper writing and such. I would be willing to move anywere that this takes me to find a decent program, cut and dry. I just wanna be a midwife. I found an online program but i am sceptical about how much i would learn.. I think it was the Ancient Art MIdwifery Ins. I guess my real question is how did you go about getting your education, and what do you recomend for a person starting out.
I am also looking for something fairly flexable considering i have a one year old. lol.

Ariel
 

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I know that there was a midwife in either Arizona or New Mexico looking for a full time apprentice. I could get you the info if you are interested in apprenticing instead of school. You could get your CPM either way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I really really wish i could pack up and leave right now but So thinks we need to save money
So i guess my original plans have been changed again. I think that this Doula certification will keep me busy in the meanwhile. I so wish i could just pack up leave. I will deffinaly be comming here the minute i wanna find an apprentiship though. How does it work when they get a fresh new appr.? I do not have like book-full of birth knowledge but i know a bit. Do you have to apply to be an appr. or are they really that strapped for midwives?

Thank you guys you are wonderful.
:

Ariel
Baby Elle 6-21-04
(sniff sniff soon to be toddler)
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pamamidwife
AAMI is not only highly regarded in midwifery, but it is also probably the toughest, most comprehensive education you will get without having to sell your children for it.
could not have said this better, this program has been around a very long time and is excellent- self-paced for the most part and has on-line connections now (so I have heard)
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by bradley method mom
I ditto those two school are the most well known. But you can also do a few weeks at Casa
http://www.casamidwifery.com/interns.html
I will be going this winter. can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!
a few weeks anywhere does not a midwife make!!! midwifery in theory and practice are far different than most quick experience programs can give you--- now it is one thing if you have been working with a midwife for a while and doing the reading/study to go along so you have some theory of practice and some ability to anticipate and discern but need to get a certain # of births in say a 5 year period and there just isn't enough births for you to get all your numbers in and quite a different story to go for even a month or 2 and think that you are really ready to be a midwife
 

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I agree with mwherbs. While some places (like Canada, for instance) make getting 'numbers' important, continuity of care and actual practice experience is so important.

There is so much focus on getting 'numbers' from students when in actuality, there is a reason why it takes years to get the experience you need to start your own practice.

Is it popular because midwives are not taking on apprentices?

Does anyone feel odd about 'practicing' on women of color?
 

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I totally agree (and I went to Casa!). You can not really know homebirth midwifery unless you apprentice with a (or preferably several) homebirth midwife.
Casa teaches in-the-trenches, high volume clincal midwifery. Which is very, very different from homebirth midwifery. The experience there, for me was invaluable, but truly would not have prepared me to pracitce on my own. Practice in another birth center, maybe. But not on my own. The vast majority of the stuff I learned there I wouldn't do in homebirth practice. And yes, praciticing with a different population than you serve at home is strange. I'm not sure it's irrelevant, because for me, learning to BE at a prental or birth with a person whome I can barely communicate, whose culture and beliefs are quite different (to respect that and learn from it) was invaluable and something I DO think benefits the way I practice my trade.

I think Casa (and others) are popular because of the lack of available apprenticeships, but also (in my case) because when I moved I found out that the way these midwives practiced was that the apprentice would not be doing anything clincal for a year or two and I could not afford to wait that long. It's discouraging and sends a message of fear about 'competition' - there hasn't been a new practice here for 10 years!
Also many of them require you sign an agreement that you won't practice in the area.
So what good does that do a young midwife? She gets to know the community, lives eats and breaths midwifery there and then has to move to earn some motney?!?
Agh.
You can tell I am frustrated by this.


Anyway - to the OP - I think it's important you find out what your state requires first and then go from there. I am enrolled in AAMI and can not speak highly enough about it - it will require the most out of you than any other program out there. But it is not accepted for licensure in California. This is an important thing to know.
And also, read all you can about birth, find out about apprenticeships and make yourself marketable for one: know the midwives in your area, what are thier needs? show them that you are serious and want to learn ARE learning, etc.

Peace.
 

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Midwives refusing apprentices based on competition...Competition? That just shocks the pants off me. New homebirth midwifery practices are popping up all over Utah, but the Grand-midwives from before the 70s and 80s are still busy. Some of our dear sweet old ones can't retire because babies they received are women now and coming to them and begging them to be midwives for THEIR children. And you know how we Utah women are...we have MANY babies (on average).
Homebirth midwifery is not an area where I see a concern about competition between providers. Have you all been over to the VBAC forums lately??? Women are leaving the hospitals in numbers unheard of since...well, since hospitals came on the scene! If I were a betting woman I would lay money on the demand for midwifery services in the United States doubling or tripling in the next 5-10 years.

I can see the same debates about the high-volume birth center everyone else has raised: the quantity vs quality debate and the ethical debate. On the one hand, most midwives want to jump right in and begin doing the good work! On the other hand, time is a marvelous teacher, as is experience doing what you intend to do. Throw in the time and money issues as they affect all the different midwives-in-training and it's incalculable. On another hand, many of the HVBCs are set up to serve very low-income and/or minority populations and provide student midwives with "practice opportunities". I'm with you Pama--doesn't that devalue these women and their experience? On the other hand, is it likely to be better, even at it's worst, than the care they would receive from another provider in another setting? Yes. Sadly, we've progressed to such a point where I believe most women are better off being cared for by a novice midwife than an experienced doctor. Not all, but...most. And minority women get the short end of the stick all the way around. The numbers spell it out. What's a midwife to do? Well, being independant sorts, we'll probably all choose different things.

What a thrilling thread, people. I enjoy this community very much.
 

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I could see if places like Jamaica were still open - where it was normal to do breeches, twins and handle many things that would be considered a cesarean. But, Casa and other places like it have such strict restrictions that you're not going to see much beyond the occasional hemorrhage. The women that go there don't even transport with the women to the hospital, do they?

I'm not saying that Casa is a bad idea, it jsut gives people confidence when they should still be wary of getting that confidence too early. I think that what you see at those births is pretty straightforward (aside from the on the back pushing, etc.).

I dont' think that doing 20 primaries is enough. Then again, I apprenticed for four and half years and only had 40 primaries. Yet, I saw enough weird stuff, including transports and how to interact with medical professionals, to know that I was ready.

I guess it's all different. There's just such an urgency to "get there", when we all know that if you rush a labor, you often get totally unexpected outcomes.
 

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The quantity vs. quality issue is fascinating to me. Disclaimer: I'm not a midwife - and I know next to nothing about midwifery training. I do however, have a strong opinion on quality vs. quantity.
I caught 177 babies as a family practice resident - far more than anyone else ever trained in my program because I was aggressive, and I hung around labor and delivery every spare moment I had. I knew I wanted to attend births in my practice and wanted to get all the numbers I could. I only did primary prenatal care for 18 continuity patients, though, and didn't attend all of those (in the inner city, women frequently would change their minds at the last minute and just show up in labor to another hospital.)
No amount of numbers prepared me for private practice, and how to provide care for women in all sorts of life situations. And how to communicate with my OB consultants - I'm definitely still working on that one. Also, I learned squat about normal birth. I'm embarrassed to think about some of the births I attended early in my private practice! Learning how to be with a woman in labor and help when needed - and how to stay out of her way when not needed - are skills I continue to work on.
Numbers are great, but there is no substitute for time and experience in the setting you anticipate actually working in. I learned more, I think, from the first 20 births I did in practice, than I did in those nearly 200 in training!
 

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This is such a good thread - even if it's kinda' highjacked the OP


I agree so that there will be disparities if a student doesn't experience an apprenticeship.
I also think that there are disparities if a student experiences only 1 appreticeship or learns from only one or even two midwives.

But I think what doctojen wrote about her learning more from her own clients is absolutely 100% true. You can't know until you're the one 'responsible'. And no matter how confident one feels upon leaving thier training, once out from under that umbrella they need to learn how they are going to be.

And there are Casa midwives who will attend breeches. It's unusual. But they have and do.
You're right in that they do not go with the mamas during a transport.

Redtentmama - I think the competition factor has a lot to do with the saturation of midwives and people who want to be midwives AND the laws of that particular state (AK you wouldn't be able to attend HBAC and there are plenty of ther restrictions as well. CA requires that you have physician back-up and getting insurance reimbursement is a huge hassle.)
 

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To take the discussion further away from the op's question, a small rant.

I hate the way that training in prenatal care, postnatal care, counseling skills, transport skills, interacting with the medical community, and relationship building are totally, completely devalued, both by the midwifery community and by clients. As an apprentice/new midwife, I have never been asked how many prenatals I have been to or how I handled going with women on transports or how many times I have called a pediatrician to consult when something looked a little strange to me in a postnatal or how I might have helped a client with postpartum depression. Questions around experience are almost always "how many births?" or "how many babies have you delivered/caught?"

Attending births isn't the only thing that makes a midwife. Achieving a certain number of births as a primary isn't what makes a midwife either. What does it mean to be a primary, anyway? Is it that you are hands-on, catching the baby? What if you are philosophically, a hands-off midwife? How does that hands-on training help you? I have caught a brow presentation baby, but actually catching her didn't tell me anything about how to help another one be born vaginally. Does being a primary mean making the decisions -- calling the shots and knowing if you can survive under pressure? If so, programs like Casa might be hugely helpful. I have thought about going there myself in a year or two to encounter a greater variety of experiences and situations than I might run into in my own slow midwifery practice.

The thing is, that really no apprenticeship can provide meaningful hands-on experience handling complications and rarities. Even if I managed to see a breech baby in my apprenticeship, it doesn't mean that I would have the judgement to handle the complexities of the next one who presented himself to me. No apprenticeship is going to present 20 sets of twins so that you can feel like catching twins is old hat. I have no training in suturing right now -- I have to find a way, like a conference workshop, to learn it because the midwives I work for sutured twice in the time I was with them.

I think that we expect too much from apprenticeship and from midwifery education in general. I think that the best apprenticeships teach midwives to be good listeners, to be good communicators, to be calm and trust birth, and to know when to ask for help. I think that book learning helps us to recognize the unusual things that we run into that we do not have personal experience with. A good new midwife will know how to pull knowledge from various sources (including asking for help, when available, from more experienced people) when presented with something that she has not encountered before,using judgement and wisdom. I agree with Loved's assertion that you can't really know how you will be until you are out from under the umbrella. It is such a big difference to call the shots with someone looking over your shoulder and to call the shots on your own. A huge leap, and I don't think that any reasonable amount of births is going to teach you everything you need to be able to handle that situation and make good decisions. The listening skills and watching skills and problem-solving skills and not-freaking-out skills are more important, I think, and while they can't really be objectively measured, I think that they are what is really important in midwifery education.
 

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Argh! The "numbers" thing! This is seriously my pet peeve. 10 students out of my class of 12 went out of country to get their "numbers". Some got more than half of their births in a Third World hospital, attending women with whom they did not share a language or culture, and only met them in active labour or pushing. Keeping 25 or 30 babies from hitting the floor does not a midwife make. Catching a baby is nice, but seriously, any chimpanzee can do it. Most of the time you just need to put out your hands and the baby falls in, most of the time the baby will come out whether you're there or not. Providing good prenatal care, getting to know your clients, their families, their hopes and fears, what's normal for them, is good midwifery.

that said, I really put myself out there, and was on call for no less than 4 (very different) homebirth midwives. Very rarely I attended a birth where I didn't care for the lady prenatally, only if another apprentice was unavailable for whatever reason. In 2 years, I attended almost 200 births, including hospital transports, without ever leaving the area. I did continous prenatal care for more than 500 women. Every birth I attended I did their postpartum follow up care. While my classmates were off in Honduras, Ecuador, and Colombia, I was taking call for their preceptors. Even still, I am just beginning to feel ready for independent practice, a year and a half after graduation and another 75 births later.
I plan on going home to Jamaica to open an independent birth centre, and there will be very little in the way of back up, the hospitals don't have much more than I will have in my birth kit. I felt it was extremely important to get as much midwifery experience as possible before I hang out my shingle.
Sorry that was waaaay off topic....!


Patience is probably one of our greatest virtues. What teaches us patience is being content with waiting. There's a saying in Jamaica, "Patient man rides a donkey", which means, it may be slow and bouncy, but you'll get where you need to be in due time. In them meantime, enjoy the ride and enjoy the view.

To the OP, IMHO, it doesn't really matter which school you attend, what matters is what you make of it. No amount of book education is a substitute for apprenticing with a skilled, experienced midwife. No amount of classroom time will give you the confidence that comes from actually using your hands, heart, and intuition. No teacher will ever teach you as much as the individual ladies you serve.
 

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Quote:
I also think that there are disparities if a student experiences only 1 appreticeship or learns from only one or even two midwives.
I totally agree. I'm not sure how soon I'll leave my apprenticeship, but I do want to get other experiences outside of it even if that means going to a high-volume location like Casa or somewhere else. I don't want to go as a means for "numbers" but just for an experience and to work on some clinical skills that I am GREATLY lacking in.
 

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This thread has been great to read. I am going to be a midwifery student in a year or two and this has shed some insight for me, thanks.


OP- I know there are a few here who have said AAMI is great, I have talked to quite a few graduates of this program and haven't heard much good about it. Plus from what I understand the program isnt accredited so certification in some states isnt possible (once again this is just what I have "heard", please correct me if I am wrong). I am planning on attending Seattle Midwifery School. They are accreditated and a bonus (for me anyway) is they offer financial aid. http://www.seattlemidwifery.org/sms.htm
They cost a bit more but I have heard nothing but exceptional things about their program. Another great thing is they have what is called a low-residency plan. You can live in what ever state (or country) as long as you go to the school once a month for training. Otherwise you do your work at home and have apprenticeships. I plan on attending their open house to make sure it is what I want. Anyway hope this helps.
 
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