Opinions on Midwife Shadowing?

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    Hi everyone! I am in the process of applying for nursing schools, and I'm thinking of doing some shadowing to help me figure out if I'm on the right path. One thing I've been very interested in lately is midwifery. I contacted a local birth center, to see if they allowed shadowing. They told me that generally only student midwives shadow, but I could give them my availability and they would ask their midwife to arrange for me to be at a birth, as long as it was ok with the mom. Now I feel kind of awkward about the whole thing- do you think it was a weird thing to ask? Do you think it would be awkward for the family? I don't want to mess up someone's birth experience by being a stranger there. Thoughts?
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    As with anything, some moms won't care and others will be uneasy. Do you have any friends close to giving birth that you could observe? If midwifery really interests you, check out becoming a doula first. It's quick and will give you a lot of experience. Or check out the home-birth-attending midwife. You might be able to get to know one family through visits and that will help alleviate any uneasiness of you being present at the birth.

    I think you will have an easier time shadowing at an L&D department. It's not the same as watching a midwife attending a birth at an alternative birthing center, but it will give you an idea if the birth process is your thing.

    Good luck! The two home births I got to observe (and be somewhat helpful with) are two of my favorite memories.
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    Thanks SwampCat! Those are good suggestions. I wonder if there's anything that would be bad about becoming a doula and going to nursing school at the same time? The programs I'm applying to start in May, so hopefully I will be starting school soon.

    I actually don't really know any pregnant people. My mom's friend is a lactation consultant, she might hook me up with a midwife or two to at least talk to them about what they do. I'm in contact with our local hospital, trying to set up shadowing a nurse in labor and delivery, so hopefully that will happen soon as well.
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    Being a doula and a nursing student will be very tricky. What if the mom starts to labor the night before an exam? Will you be up all night with her and go take the exam on no sleep? Granted, the odds of that happening are slim, but we all know Murphy's law
    shannon81 likes this.
  7. 1
    Ooh, or during an exam. Good point!!
    shannon81 likes this.
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    Heck no its a wonderful notion and you should ride that experience to the bank! I am thinking of the same possible profession and would love to shadow any rn that would take me! If the nurse asks the mother, then it obviously won't bother her...just try to study what the nurses give you to learn from and don't get in the way of the moment. You'll do great! Do it to it!*
    EMTtoRN22 likes this.
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    Heck no its a wonderful notion and you should ride that experience to the bank! I am thinking of the same possible profession and would love to shadow any rn that would take me! If the nurse asks the mother, then it obviously won't bother her...just try to study what the nurses give you to learn from and don't get in the way of the moment. You'll do great! Do it to it!*
  10. 1
    Thanks I ended up emailing them back and saying that I would love the opportunity, as long as I wouldn't be making anyone uncomfortable. They asked me to come in to meet and do some paperwork next week, so we'll see how it goes!
    shannon81 likes this.
  11. 1
    i was a doula and i'm pre-nursing and will go to midwifery school after nursing school. i recommend taking a basic doula training now and attend a birth (or two or three) asap (i.e. attend a birth or two before you get into nursing school) for free or low fee. being a doula is like being a baby midwifery i.e. it gives you a taste of what the lifestyle/job entails, you get to see how it feels for you to be at a birth, you get to see the procedures hospitals have on L&D (the good, the bad and the ugly). for doula training, i recommend DONA, as their trainings are pretty short and sweet. good luck!
    SwampCat likes this.
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    P.S. please don't try to attend births as a doula when you are in nursing school! it's way too much IMO. do it now while you are waiting on acceptance letters. good luck!


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