Saturday, November 3, 2012

How Many Hours to Become a Homebirth Midwife?

I came to my midwifery journey in a round about basis. I can't say that I always knew I would be a midwife but my life experiences have definitely helped bring me to this place. I looked into becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife briefly while on I was on the nursing track. After the birth of my second in 2005 I looked at different distance education options including Midwifery College of Utah and National College of Midwifery. My midwife for my second offered to be my preceptor if I went with a school she was familiar with. I also looked into finishing my nursing degree and then doing my CNM through Frontier School of Midwifery which would be relatively easy since I already had a Bachelors of Science Degree. In the end we moved away and I resolved myself not to do midwifery or other birth work. We moved to an area that had no CNM's or licensed midwives that did home births. I was very grossly misinformed regarding the education it took to become a traditional midwife and thought I would never want to train with any of the midwives locally.

I took a little over a year off. Few people even knew I had ever been involved with birth work and it was a much needed break. After the difficult birth of my third I knew that in order to be sure that quality midwifery care was offered in the area I would need to help by providing it myself so my midwifery journey began. I attended a few births of mutual friends with a local midwife I had been friends with for a few years. We hit it off and before I knew it I had transitioned from assistant to apprentice.

I still struggled about whether or not I needed a more traditional school. In the end it came down to a few things. 1- I had already done the traditional college route and done it well graduating with and A- average and learned and retained very little compared to the amount of time spent. 2- Money. We already have so much student loan debt for my husbands law degree that the thought of spending more money on my school for a career that wasn't a huge money maker just wasn't possible for my family. 3- I wanted to be able to tailor what I learned and avoid the busy work. I eventually developed my own curriculum and study system and passed the NARM exam on the first time with flying colors.

It took me a little over 3 1/2 years to complete all of the things needed to sit for the NARM (I had more than enough numbers and experience a year earlier but I had some documentation problems) and then an additional 6 months of waiting for the next exam. For those years of my life I spent time studying individually, studying and discussing with my preceptor, teaching childbirth classes, attending doula births, attending prenatals, births, and postpartum visits, doing skills classes, attending workshops, and forming and attending a local and several online study groups. 

In the end the time spent in my apprenticeship ended up looking something like this:

Time spent studying individually, reading, writing protocols etc.
8 hrs a week x 208 weeks =1664 hours

Time spent doing prenatals and postpartum visits
6 hrs a week x 208 = 1248 hours

Time spent in skills class (suturing practice, exams, etc.)
5 hrs a month x 48 months = 240 hours

Discussion, review and study with my preceptor
2 hrs a week x 208 = 416 hours

Birth attendance
2 births a month at an average of 8 hours per birth x 48 months = 768 hours

Additional workshops
24 hours total

Study Groups
2 hours a week x 52 weeks x 48 months = 416 hours

Childbirth classes and doula births
3 series a year at 18 hours per series plus another 20 hours a year doing doula births x 4 years =296

Total: 5072 hours of study and instruction

Approximate cost for books, workshops, gas, food, childcare and supplies $12,000

NARM the national midwifery association that provides the test for your Certified Professional Midwife required a minimum of 1350 hours.

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