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The very best midwifery courses provide the training and skills necessary to respond quickly and appropriately to any situation that can occur during a pregnancy and delivery. There are two types of midwifery courses: courses offered as part of a professional midwifery program and post-graduate courses for licensed nurses. A midwife is a health services professional who is a specialist in pregnancy, childbirth, and after birth care.
Midwifery has a long and important history, assisting in the birth and delivery of babies around the world for centuries. The development of obstetrics as a medical specialty is a relatively new development. Outside North America, the vast majority of children are still born with the assistance of a midwife, either at home or at a delivery center. In the late 1990s, a growing trend is to return to midwives to attend to normal pregnancies, and restrict the use of obstetricians to high-risk pregnancies or complicated situations.
The best midwifery courses for people who want to become a midwife are available from a select number of universities or colleges. These programs are typically three to four years in length. The courses available in the first year are very similar to nursing programs, covering human anatomy, the organs, and body systems. In the second year, the courses become more focused, dedicated to the stages of pregnancy, care, and support. In addition to these courses, delivery methods, risks, medical procedures, and minor surgical procedures are included in this training.
In North America and Europe, the number of spots available in these programs is quite limited. As a result, the competition is very fierce, with successful candidates having a combination of high marks and successful interviews. Although there is no specific restriction against a male midwife, the vast majority are woman. Most programs require candidates to have several years of experience working in a health care setting and life experience to qualify for admissions.
Post-graduate midwifery courses are available from the same, select universities or colleges. These programs are intended for fully qualified nurses who want to make a career transition. Courses completed toward an obstetric nursing specialty can be applied to this program, reducing the number of courses to be completed.
The best midwifery courses combine theory with practical application. For example, some courses use mannequins to simulate a difficult birth, allowing the students to study and understand the issues they may face in the field. Some schools offer courses taught by guest lecturers who have experience working as a midwife. In North American, midwives are required to complete a certification and licensing examination to practice.
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