Getty images. Midwifery placement. Mother holding a new baby

Maternity Units provide midwifery care to women throughout pregnancy, labour and birth, and postnatally. Care is provided in a number of different settings, including hospital, birth centre, GP surgery, children’s centre and at home. The way in which placements are organised may vary between different areas due to the different organisation of services. For instance, some maternity units offer an 'integrated service', which means that a team of midwives work across both community and hospital settings during the course of any week or even day. In other areas there are separate teams of community midwives and hospital midwives; sometimes the midwives rotate between hospital and community, and sometimes the rotation is just between hospital wards (such as labour ward and postnatal ward). Each student will work under the supervision of a qualified midwife at all times whilst on maternity placements.

Student placements therefore depend on the organisation of maternity services in the allocated area. However, a community placement may include:

  • Antenatal clinics; initial booking appointments and follow up appointments during pregnancy with a midwife. These may be in a GP surgery or children’s centre
  • Home visits
  • Postnatal clinics
  • Birth centre activity (antenatal, labour and/or postnatal)
  • Home births.

A hospital placement may include:
  • Labour ward – care for women during labour and birth, including vaginal and caesarean birth
  • Alongside birth centre activity
  • Antenatal ward (may include inpatient and / or outpatient care)
  • Postnatal ward (some maternity units have separate postnatal wards, others have wards that combine postnatal and antenatal activity)
  • Opportunity to work alongside specialist midwives in relation to antenatal screening, safeguarding, perinatal mental health, drugs and alcohol, infant feeding.

An integrated placement may include any of the above.

Key learning opportunities / skills development

Each year midwifery students will be given a range of placements that provide learning opportunities for the development of skills in each of the nine assessed criteria. These are outlined in the students’ Ongoing Achievement Record (OAR) and include:

1. Initial consultation between the woman and the midwife
2. Ongoing antenatal care
3. Normal labour and birth
4. Postnatal and neonatal care
5. Initiation and continuance of breast feeding
6. Medical products management
7. Personal and professional growth
8. Risk assessment and management skills
9. Communication