What is the role of a midwife?

The role of a midwife is to provide care for women and babies during pregnancy, labour and the early stages of the postnatal period. During this time, midwives are responsible for the health of both mothers and babies, making referrals to obstetricians when it is necessary.

A rewarding yet challenging role, midwives work closely with families. They ensure that the options available during pregnancy and delivery include the preferences and views of the mother, along with the wellbeing of both the mother and the baby.

Within this blog, we have taken a close look at the role of a midwife. We have outlined their typical duties and responsibilities, their working hours as well as the essential skills and qualities that are needed. We have also provided information on how to become a midwife in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  

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What are the roles and responsibilities of a midwife?

The role of a midwife is to prepare women during their pregnancy for delivery, help them maintain good health and provide support during the early postnatal care stage. All mothers are different, and no pregnancy or labour is the same, therefore, midwives need to be able to communicate with and support many different individuals.

The responsibilities of a midwife include:

  • Monitoring the health and providing care for mother and baby during pregnancy and delivery
  • Providing antenatal care including testing, parenting classes and health examinations
  • Making referrals to doctors and medical specialists if they identify the pregnancy as high risk
  • As not all pregnancies go to plan, you will need to offer support and advice to parents following a miscarriage, stillbirth, termination or neonatal death

If you take on the role of an agency midwife, the job will be similar. However, you will likely take on temporary, last-minute placements within public and private hospitals, depending on your area of expertise.

Where does a midwife work?

Midwives work throughout all healthcare settings, including maternity units, general hospitals, private maternity hospitals, group practices, birth centres and within the community.

Midwives within the NHS will typically work as part of a small multidisciplinary team including maternity support workers, health visitors, GPs, neonatal nurses and gynaecologists.

As midwives provide woman-centred integrated care, many have on-call responsibilities within hospital and community settings.

Within the Republic of Ireland, the midwifery role is continuously evolving in response to the changing needs of women and their families in Ireland. They provide care in midwife-led units, maternity hospitals and increasingly throughout the community, and often work alongside obstetricians and other healthcare professionals

How much do midwives get paid?

Midwife salaries across Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland can differ depending on where you are in your career, your location and the type of work you carry out.

Midwifery salary in Scotland and Northern Ireland

The average salary for a band 5 midwife in Scotland and Northern Ireland is £28,595 a year and £14.66 an hour when working in a permanent midwife role. The amount you earn will increase as you progress through your career. With experience, you can earn up to £75,874.

The average pay rate for an agency midwife in Scotland and Northern Ireland who works with the Guild is £38.

NHS Band 5 (entry level midwife)NHS Band 6 (experienced midwife)NHS Band 8b (most experienced midwives)The Guild ratesThe Guild bank holiday rates
Up to £16.84 per hour*Up to £20.76 per hour*Up to £33.38 per hour*£38 per hour£48.50 per hour
*Source: https://www.nhsemployers.org/articles/pay-scales-202223

Midwifery salary in the Republic of Ireland

The average salary for a band 5 midwife in the Republic of Ireland is €41,511 a year and €21.28 an hour when working in a permanent role. This will increase as your career progresses, with the potential to earn up to €65,316 with experience.

The average pay rate for an agency midwife in the Republic of Ireland who works with the Guild is €41.

HSE Entry-level midwifeHSE Experienced midwifeHSE Enhanced midwife, seniorThe Guild ratesThe Guild bank holiday rates
€16.69 per hour*€25.57 per hour*€ 27.67 per hour*€41 per hour €57 per hour
* Source: https://healthservice.hse.ie/staff/pay/pay-scales/

Here at the Guild, our midwives receive an excellent rate of pay which is calculated based on their grade, location, specialism and experience. View the pay rates for an agency midwife with the Guild.

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Key skills of a midwife

It is important to have good interpersonal and communication skills as a midwife, as you will work with people from a range of backgrounds. Strong listening skills are also important, as you need to be able to gain an accurate understanding of the needs and wishes of mothers throughout their pregnancies, labour and postnatal care.

Other important skills and qualities of a good midwife include:

  • Composed in stressful situations
  • Strong observational skills
  • Able to take initiative
  • Resilience and mental strength
  • Maturity
  • Teamwork skills
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Patience
  • Good time management skills
  • Responsible and accountable

In the role of a midwife, it’s also important to be able to form trusting relationships with pregnant women and their families, working in partnership together and providing them with a safe and positive experience throughout their pregnancy and delivery.

Midwife working hours and shift patterns

A midwife will usually work 37.5 hours a week, which can include evenings, weekends and bank holidays. Midwifery shift patterns can be a combination of day shifts and night shifts. At the Guild, our midwives choose when and where they work, meaning you’ll have access to a more flexible work pattern with us.

How to become a midwife

If you’re looking to become a midwife in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, there are certain requirements and qualifications needed.

We have broken down what you need to do to become a midwife in each of the countries that we work in at the Guild:

How to become a midwife in Scotland

To become a midwife in Scotland, you need to be registered with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) in the UK, which you can do after completing a midwifery degree.

In Scotland, undergraduate programmes are available in midwifery at:

  • Edinburgh University
  • Robert Gordon University
  • University of the West of Scotland

How to become a midwife in Northern Ireland

You’ll need to be registered with the NMC in Northern Ireland to become a midwife, which you can do after completing a midwifery degree.

In Northern Ireland, you can study midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast.

How to become a midwife in the Republic of Ireland

To become a midwife in the Republic of Ireland, you’ll need to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).

In the Republic of Ireland, you can study midwifery at University College Dublin and other universities.

Learn more about working with the Guild as a midwife here.

Midwife roles with the Guild

If you’re interested in becoming a midwife or looking for an agency midwife job, The Guild has a wide range of midwifery shifts in a variety of locations across the UK and Ireland.

We also provide full training, development and competitive pay opportunities. Midwives registered with The Guild also get their NMC or NMBI fees paid by us.

To become a midwife with The Guild, register online or find out more by contacting our friendly team today!

Register with the Nursing Guild

We’re looking for exceptional nursing and midwifery professionals like you to join our team. Register with the Nursing Guild to access high rates of pay, paid mileage and support with revalidation.

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Rohit Sen
Rohit Sen
7 days ago

Nursing and midwifery are like the unsung heroes of healthcare, right? They’re the backbone, the ones who make sure everything’s running smoothly from the first cries of a newborn to the comforting hand on a patient’s shoulder. It’s not just a job; it’s a calling, a vocation. Big respect to all the nurses and midwives out there, keeping us all healthy and safe, one shift at a time!

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