Become a Midwife

Paths To Becoming A Midwife, Getting An Education

The decision to become a midwife is one of the most important you will ever make, right up there with getting married or having a baby. Becoming a midwife will affect your life that much; it will become your very identity. Becoming a midwife isn’t just choosing a profession, it is answering a calling that has chosen you and will be you.

Be careful how and what you learn. You must learn to guard your heart and mind. Birth is about women and their families and it involves so much more than medical knowledge. Find a program that nurtures you in the way you want to nurture women. Interview harder than a pregnant woman looking for a midwife. Use your powers of discernment. While there are many good programs and teachers, some programs are as harsh as medical doctor training. Find a program that suits you and your learning style.

There are so many things you can do even in your own community that will help you get an education. There are many places you can be of service. Midwifery is, after all, a service to families and to our world that help make it a better place—and you are part of that!

Midwifery is about loving relationships and will stretch you beyond what you had thought possible, mentally, spiritually, and physically. I extend you a warm welcome to the calling of midwifery. It is among the highest.

love, Jan
Mother of Midwifery Today
Become a Midwife (Midwifery Today Facebook page)


How do you proceed?

Here are some tasks and resources to get you started.

Write about your thoughts and questions

  1. Write up your philosophy of midwifery and birth. You can do this whether you are an aspiring midwife, doula or doctor.
  2. What called you to midwifery?
  3. Identify the strengths you bring to midwifery.
  4. Write about the barriers you may face.
  5. What things have you done so far in life that may help you? You don’t come to midwifery in a vacuum but having lived a life that is relevant.
  6. Research the legalities in your state, country or area where you plan to practice. What schools are available? Is it legal to practice without a license or certification?
  7. Write about what kind of midwife or birth practitioner you want to be.

Some essential books

Paths to Becoming a Midwife, Getting an Education. This book by Midwifery Today is perfect for to help you figure out what direction to go with your education. It will introduce you to many of the midwifery, childbirth education, and doula training programs available throughout the US. You will also discover many self-study methods to help you get started

Heart and Hands by Elizabeth Davis. This is an excellent book that goes through step by step what it takes to be a midwife. Find or put together a study group and go through it chapter by chapter.

Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. The classic book on homebirth! The first section details the experiences of parents and midwives during the birth experience. The second section is a technical manual for midwives, nurses, and doctors. Includes information on prenatal care and nutrition, labor, delivery-techniques, care of the new baby, and breastfeeding.

Engage in community activities

  1. Attend a series of La Leche League meetings. You will meet moms and might be able to provide some help to them.
  2. Talk about birth to everyone and anyone. Ask women about their births. This gives you an idea of what is going on in the culture. You may be able to offer some kind words. People like to talk about themselves and listening is a key midwifery tool! Talk to pregnant women. Maybe you can plant a seed that helps them have an optimal birth. Bloom where you are planted, teach what you know, whether to a grocery store clerk where you have about 5 minutes, on the bus, anywhere you are where people will listen and engage!
  3. Volunteer to help a friend or acquaintance with her birth. Meet with her while she is pregnant to listen to her concerns.
  4. If you plan to attend a midwifery school, take some of the prerequisites. Even if you don’t plan to go to a school these classes will help you!
  5. Volunteer with a midwife or midwife practice and be as indispensable as you can. Volunteer anywhere you can meet pregnant women or new moms. We had an organization called Doulas Supporting Teens in our city for many years. Find out what is available in your area.
  6. Find out about and attend all state midwifery and doula meetings and be helpful to the organizations. Organizations always need good people power.
  7. Wear a shirt or carry a bag with a birth or midwifery graphic or saying. People will engage you in conversation. Midwifery Today has both T-shirts and tote bags. You might help someone have a great birth—and you will learn, as well.
  8. Join birth, parenting, or midwifery organizations if you like their goals and philosophy.

Varied study opportunities

  1. Take relevant classes. There are so many great options. Study or take classes in any modality or subject that can help you and your upcoming clients, such as massage, counseling, acupuncture, nutrition, psychology, and many other subjects.
  2. If you plan to attend a midwifery school, take some of the prerequisites. Even if you don’t plan to go to a school these classes will help you!
  3. Attend a Midwifery Today conference. We craft classes for aspiring and seasoned midwives of all kinds. There are many other good conferences and study days you can attend.
  4. Organize a midwifery study group. Invite various speakers from your area. Go through Heart and Hands by Elizabeth Davis or another book of your choice. Many study groups use Elizabeth’s book because she covers almost everything you need to know to get started. This will give you a head start when you begin school or an apprenticeship.
  5. Subscribe to newsletters, journals or helpful websites. Subscribe to Midwifery Today. We have been publishing for over 30 years and you can invest in back issues that have themes you are especially interested in. One midwife said she bought all of our back issues and it was a great education! We also have a free biweekly electronic newsletter.
  6. Many websites are loaded with great articles, so read, read, read. The Midwife Thinking website is excellent. Many articles from Midwifery Today past issues are available online.
  7. Get certified in CPR.
  8. Become a doula. It is a much shorter training period and it gives you the opportunity to attend births, where you can learn more about what it means to be a midwife. In your role as a doula, you will be an advocate, where you can make a difference in a woman’s birth.
  9. Become a childbirth educator if you prefer or if you cannot be on call for births. You will learn a lot.
  10. Document everything you do toward your goal and everything you read. Write up your experiences, thoughts, feelings, and ideas as you volunteer. All of this will come in handy for review and if you decide to become a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM). Keep a journal to write down not only what you do that is relevant but your feelings about things as you go along this path.

Schools and organizations to check out (US-based)