When I was a first year I remember diving into blog posts detailing every aspect of midwifery and all it would entail to try and mentally prepare myself for the next 3 years of my life. I figured I can’t be the only person who did or does that and decided I would rewind it all right back to where my journey began and try and detail as much as I can remember about every aspect of my student journey.
So let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start – 10 points to anyone who knows this line from a musical and loves said musical as much as I do). This post will be all about the theory work of a first year student midwife, which will of course change between universities but much of it I would think will be similar.
Trimester 1 – We were introduced to the world of midwifery with our first three modules: anatomy and physiology, introduction to midwifery and clinical practice and lifelong learning 1.
Anatomy and Physiology – I remember being completely overwhelmed having to learn about all the systems of the human body as there is just SO much information to remember! At the time I remember thinking ‘surely we only really need to know about the reproductive system?’ OH BOY was I wrong. Next level wrong. I appreciate now how learning anatomy and physiology is so so so so essential and frequently find myself browsing back through my ‘Anatomy and Physiology for Midwives’ book (not advertising, I promise – but it’s excellent). If you know the normal anatomy and physiology absolutely inside out then it is so much easier to learn the pathophysiology, which is an essential aspect of midwifery so you can recognise when things are beginning to deviate from the norm and go a bit pear shaped (cue internal panicking whilst smiling and sweating and reassuring the woman that everything is fine). In such cases, if you have it together with your anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology then things will be A LOT easier and less stressful.
Also, study the pelvis until it is permanently ingrained in your brain forever, until you can’t sit down without thinking about what your ischial spines are upto (trust me, you will become very familiar with these little landmarks). OH and the fetal skull – who knew that a little babba’s head could be so complex?
Introduction to Midwifery and Clinical Practice – This was where it all got really exciting. We were about to learn proper midwifery stuff. I’ll add here a little list of what that included: fertilisation, embryology, preconception care, changes to body systems during pregnancy, minor disorders of pregnancy, prenatal screening, antenatal care, antenatal observations, labour diagnosis, normality in childbirth, intrapartum care, mechanisms of labour, waterbirth, homebirth, mobility, pain relief, nutrition, postnatal care, postnatal observations, neonatal examination, fetal circulation, conditions in newborns, newborn screening etc etc etc. PHEW. Still want to be a midwife? GOOD, because it’s worth it! Even if your social life will go from hero to zero for the first wee while. It sounds like a lot of stuff to learn (and it is) but if the passion is there -which I’m more than sure it is for all you prospective applicants/students- then you will WANT to learn it all because it completely fascinates you. Trust me it will not fascinate everyone, placenta chat over the dinner table is a sure fire way to get your family members to leave the room in a matter of seconds. My best friend literally heaves any time I mention anything clinical, I’m surprised I haven’t lost her over the course of the 3 years as I’m pretty sure I’ve slipped the occasional midwifery fact into the conversation every so often.
Life Long Learning 1 – This module contained everything students and midwives need to know about professional regulation, clinical governance and continuing professional development. I feel like there is not much else to say about this module as it (as the title suggests) is a continuous module that develops over the 3 years of study, something I have now realised and will discuss in later blog posts.
As you can see there is a massive amount of theory work involved in training to become a midwife (and that’s just first year, wait till you read my blog posts about 2nd year). But if you think about it, there has to be! Most people on the course come from having no clinical experience whatsoever, so how could you possibly expect them to know anything about anything in the world of midwifery? Everyone has to learn and although some people may forget it, we were all at that stage in our training once and have grown and learned from it.