Published Monday 6 May 2024

In recognition of International Day of the Midwife (5 May), we talk to graduate midwife Andrea Houlihan about her role.

Tell us about your role?
As a new graduate midwife, my role is incredibly fulfilling and varied. I have the privilege of assisting women during one of the most transformative experiences of their lives – childbirth. From providing prenatal care and education to supporting women through labour and delivery, as well as offering postpartum care and guidance, my role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities aimed at ensuring the health and well-being of both mother and baby.

What made you choose a career as a midwife?
I chose a career as a midwife because I've always been drawn to the miracle of birth and the idea of supporting and empowering women through such a significant journey. Additionally, I have a natural inclination towards caregiving and a desire to make a positive impact in people's lives, making midwifery a perfect fit for me.

What do you love most about your job?
What I love most is the profound connection I develop with the women and whānau I work with. Being able to witness the strength, resilience and love that permeate the birthing process is incredibly rewarding. Every birth is a unique and special experience, and being a part of that journey fills me with immense joy and gratitude. 

What does a typical work day look like for you?
In my role as a core midwife, my typical work day is fast-paced and dynamic. It often starts with reviewing patient charts and attending handover meetings to discuss any updates or special considerations for the day. Throughout the day, I may be involved in various tasks such as conducting antenatal and postnatal assessments, monitoring foetal heart rates, supporting women in active labour, aiding with breastfeeding and baby care, assisting with medical interventions when necessary, and providing emotional support to both mothers and their whānau. I work closely with obstetricians, nurses and other healthcare professionals to ensure co-ordinated care and timely interventions as needed. 

What's your biggest work achievement?
One of my proudest achievements as a midwife revolves around building strong relationships with the women I work with. There was a particular instance where I spent extensive time getting to know a woman, understanding her birth preferences, hopes and fears. Through genuine empathy, communication and trust-building, I was able to create a supportive environment where she felt empowered and confident in her decisions. Witnessing her profound sense of satisfaction and trust in me as her midwife was deeply gratifying and reinforced the importance of nurturing meaningful connections with those in my care.

What would you say to someone who wanted to start a career as a midwife?
To someone considering a career as a midwife, I would say “go for it”! It's a challenging yet incredibly rewarding profession that allows you to make a real difference in the lives of women and whānau. Be prepared to work hard, continuously learn and advocate for your clients, but know that the impact you have will be immeasurable. 

Do you have a side hustle/hobby/hidden talent you’d like to share?
Outside of my work as a midwife, I enjoy sewing as a creative outlet. I find it therapeutic to design and create garments and other items, and it's a nice way to unwind after a busy day. I also love spending time with my black lab puppy, Freddo, who brings so much joy and laughter into my life.

What's the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best piece of advice I've ever received, both professionally and personally, is to always trust my instincts and advocate for what I believe is right. In midwifery, intuition plays a significant role in decision-making and learning to trust myself has been invaluable in providing the best possible care.