Operation Midwife

One goal of Burgeon Midwifery is to create an environment where student midwives who desire to serve both locally and abroad can receive training, guidance, and support along their challenging journeys to becoming licensed. In order for this goal to become realized, Burgeon has started the non-profit organization Operation Midwife. We provide necessities like textbooks and supplies as well as helping students pay for their certifications and exam fees. We also provide financial support for our students who serve overseas in areas where access to maternal healthcare is lacking.

Donate to Operation Midwife today!

Student Midwives: The Price We Pay

A Comprehensive Breakdown of What it Costs to Become a Licensed Midwife / Certified Professional Midwife
Alyssa Gaiser | June 17th, 2017

The Sacred Profession

“Please, I’m begging you to cover my shift! I can’t come in today. I have a birth!”

I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve made that phone call. At the time, I was working at a busy restaurant as a server. The job wasn’t particularly meaningful, but it payed well, the hours were flexible, and I could completely support myself. Sometimes I still dream about a life where pay is steady and I could clock in and out. However, a job like that is out of the question for me now. Student midwives are dedicated, resilient, selfless and…completely unemployable. Nobody wants to employ someone who, at times, will have to leave at any moment and won’t be able to tell you when she’ll be back. We find ways to make money here and there. Babysitting, selling home-made goods, teaching classes and resorting to multi-level-marketing sales are all common side-hustles for student midwives. Our education is completely self-funded, as there are no scholarships, government grants or even student loans available to us.

The path to becoming a licensed midwife is a bit different than that of a certified nurse-midwife. There are essentially three parts: didactic/academics, apprenticeship/clinical hours, and exams/certifications. The apprenticeship model of traditional midwifery education is intense, requiring a great deal of sacrifice to our physical and emotional energy, our time, and our families waiting for us at home. Wherever our preceptor goes, whatever she does, we are by her side soaking in her wisdom. This is the only way to truly prepare for the work of midwifery. We choose this path because we understand how invaluable midwifery is to all of humanity. We are honored to take on the sacred profession, and we are unable to do nothing while 300,000 women and girls die in pregnancy or childbirth every year from mostly preventable causes. We are unable to do nothing when we listen to our sisters and mothers and grandmothers recount the trauma they experienced due to the inhumane treatment of pregnant women in our modern world. We must do better for ourselves, our sisters and our daughters. Truly, you cannot put a price on midwifery, but how much does it actually cost to become a midwife?

The Breakdown

With ever-changing laws and licensure requirements of midwifery, it is nearly impossible to create a completely exhaustive list, but I will do my best to make this list as comprehensive and easy to understand as possible.

The required reading for midwives are essential for us to pass our exam, the NARM. Having an updated library throughout our profession keeps us up-to-date on the most current evidence relating to midwifery care and ensures that we are giving the Gold Standard of care.

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Total cost of textbooks: Up to $2,937

Medical Supplies:
In the beginning, you can get away with borrowing your preceptor’s equipment, but as time goes on and the student becomes closer to completing her apprenticeship, it is vital that she have all the supplies she needs to run her own practice. The prices can vary greatly based on quality of the items and how many clients a midwife has at a time, so these are approximate ranges. Typically a student will buy a middle-of-the-road quality equipment and and then replace it with more top-of-the-line equipment as she can afford it.
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Total cost of average medical supplies: $2,636.
The BARE MINIMUM supplies to start out as a student will still cost about $400.

Exam and certification fees:
In addition to the costs of the academic curriculum for midwifery, students are also required to obtain necessary certifications such as Basic Life Support, Neonatal Resuscitation, IV Therapy, and more. There are also fees to sit for the NARM (North American Registry of Midwives) Exam and fees to obtain licensure.

Curriculum/Academic Midwifery Programs:

There are 3 or 4 programs where students can get their academic portion that all cost
around $4,000 with a $100 application fee. It should be noted that these programs are
not Title IV schools and therefore do not qualify students for financial aid.

It should also be noted that preceptors also charge students. Some charge hardly
anything at all while others charge upto $500/month. If it takes you 8 semesters to
complete your clinical hours, that’s an additional $16,000.

Other certifications:
BLS $50 NRP  $250 IV Therapy $280 Suturing $280
Pharmacology $280

NM Student Midwife License $50

NARM Fees:
Exam free $900
Test site fee: $100

Total cost of tuition and fees: $6,290

Total cost of becoming a midwife is approximately $11,000-20,000.

All of this is self-pay. We do not qualify for financial aid. We do not qualify for student loans. We do not qualify for most scholarships. We pay for our education from our own pockets while also not being able to keep a regular job. Most complete their educations with mounds of personal debt behind them. Some crowd source or accept support from their families. For students without a support network, this path is next to impossible. Class and racial disparities are a major problem in midwifery because so many amazing students who would’ve been incredible midwives simply cannot afford it. For every 10 students, only 1 will become a licensed midwife. How are we to solve the maternal healthcare crisis without creating more midwives? We can’t! We must do more to support students if we wish for traditional midwifery, the sacred profession, to live on.
Get involved with Operation Midwife to be part of the solution.

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