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The qualifications to be a midwife differ by area, but the skills required to become a midwife are relatively consistent. Formal qualifications must sometimes be obtained in order to practice legally, but this is not true in all areas. Sometimes, socially agreed upon qualifications must be obtained in order to get clients. Almost always, the qualifications to be a midwife can be explained by a midwife mentor, and mentorship of some kind is almost always part of the necessary qualifications. As such, the best way to find out about the qualifications to be a midwife is to ask a current midwife.
Midwife qualifications differ by area, and some midwives need no formal certification or degree program. This is true in many areas where midwives deliver a large portion of the babies in a community. In areas where Western medicine is prevalent, laws usually prevent midwives from practicing without licenses. The qualifications to obtain these licenses may include certain forms of school or merely training with a current midwife.
Almost always, qualifications to be a midwife will involve some kind of mentorship. The subjects a person learns during this mentorship may be very different, depending on the area a person will be practicing. Different theories of birthing babies and different types of medicine may be taught. By undergoing mentorship, a person will be entering into a tradition of midwifery for a particular area, which is what people in that area expect from midwives. As such, understanding the culture of midwifery in a person's own area is one of the most important qualifications to be a midwife for that area.
Generally, the qualifications a person needs to be seen as a reputable midwife include serving as an apprentice and slowly beginning to practice with a direct and constant supervisor. While learning, a person may provide prenatal care, help dispense medicine, or even deliver babies. A person who has performed well during an apprenticeship is usually seen as prepared for being a midwife. It is assumed that the knowledge of the mentor has been fully passed down to the apprentice when he or she is released from the apprenticeship.
Specific qualifications may be obtained in different ways. In some areas, a person must complete a degree program, while in others he or she must obtain a license. A person may be qualified in terms of skill to be a midwife without these items, but she cannot legally practice without them. As such, even people who disagree with the idea of external regulation of midwifery often obtain certification.