Midwifery is a woman-centred ancient practice of attending women during their childbearing experiences. Midwifery is founded on respect for women and on a strong belief in the value of women's work of bearing and rearing each generation.

Midwifery considers women in pregnancy, during childbirth and early parenting to be undertaking healthy processes that are profound and precious events in each woman's life. These events are also seen as inherently important to society as a whole. Contemporary midwifery is becoming a community-based, primary health care discipline that embraces the judicious use of scientific knowledge to assist the woman to make the best choice for herself and her baby.

The role of the midwife is to be responsible for the care of women, babies and their families during pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, labour, birth and the early infancy period. Midwives provide direct clinical care and support for healthy women and babies. Midwives work collaboratively with doctors and other members of the health care team when there are risks or complications. Midwives work in birth centres, maternity units of hospitals, in community settings and in private practice which may include home births.

There is currently a shortage of graduate midwives, particularly in regional and rural Australia where the shortages are acute. There are good job prospects for midwives in metropolitan and regional settings. Midwives wishing to work in remote areas or small rural settings should consider becoming nurses as well as midwives.

Our Bachelor of Midwifery prepares graduates for entry into professional midwifery practice and is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. Graduates can work in any state of Australia and in New Zealand. Employment as a midwife in other countries is possible, however further country-specific advice should be sought. Midwives, with further study, can also become midwifery educators, managers or researchers.

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