A midwife assistant is a trained or semi-trained professional who works alongside a licensed midwife. Individual responsibilities vary based on the midwife and location, but they generally include office duties, simple tasks involving patients like taking blood pressure and weight, or assisting with actual births. In many cases the midwife assistant is also a midwife apprentice, meaning that she is in the process of becoming a trained midwife herself.
The primary job of a midwife assistant is to aid the midwife in tasks that she is too busy to tend to. This may include secretarial roles like scheduling appointments and fielding patient questions. She may also do billing tasks like contacting insurance companies and filing claims. In some cases the assistant may also handle simple tasks with patients like handling some appointments or attending appointments along with the midwife to learn the proper way of doing jobs like taking blood pressure, listening to the baby’s heart rate, and checking the patient’s weight.
Many times the midwife assistant will also attend births along with the midwife to handle certain tasks during labor and delivery. These may include tracking labor contractions, keeping information needed for the birth certificate such as time of birth, and helping make the mother comfortable. The level of responsibility and duties for an assistant will depend on the level of training and experience.
Assistants who work as apprentices generally finish training beforehand in midwifery, nursing, or both. Trained nurses are generally able to handle many medical situations, whereas lesser trained assistants may have to be accompanied physically by a midwife in order to perform procedures or advise patients. Regulations governing assistants in various roles vary based on location. In some states, no prior training may be necessary in order to become a midwife assistant, so long as the midwife who is doing the patient care and/or training is licensed and has been in a business for several years. In some areas, the midwife may also need training in coaching or teaching.
In order to get a job as a midwife assistant, it’s important to be familiar with the laws in the area. Those who wish to work with patients rather than in an solely secretarial role will need to find out what training is required in order to become an assistant, or a midwife if the goal is to apprentice. In some areas, opportunities may not be available, because midwifery is not legal in all areas.