The campus option consists of three and a half semesters of rigorous academic study at our facilities in Bridgton, Maine. For two of these semesters, students complete hands-on clinical rotations at sites across Maine and New Hampshire. After completing local rotations, each student chooses an off-site preceptor midwife to practice with. Before graduating, students spend 18 or more months with their preceptors.


Prerequisites

  • A high-school diploma or equivalent
  • Completed doula training workshop (or will complete before attending)
  • Completed CPR course (or will complete before attending)

Faculty

Birthwise employs a hard-working academic faculty consisting of practicing midwives, practicing nurse midwives, naturopathic doctors, herbalists, and other working professionals. Meet themThe faculty to student ratio is 1:6, which means students get the attention from instructors – during and after class – that they need to succeed.

Graduation Requirements

Birthwise holds all its students to a high academic and practical standard. All graduates must complete these eight requirements before they receive a diploma.


Textbooks

Textbooks change from year to year. See the Birthwise Midwifery School: Spring 2019 Booklist for current textbooks.


Curriculum Map

Semester 1 Courses

Number of Credits: 0.8

This course prepares incoming students for their exciting journey ahead through orientation to the school facilities, the Birthwise staff, the principles and responsibilities included in the Student Handbook, and the academic and social culture here at the school. Students will have an opportunity to talk to a panel of current second-year students, during which strategies for study, self-care, and academic success will be shared. Finally, the new cohort of students will discuss the pre-class reading: two books that describe, through story and reflection, the life of a midwife and the accompanying philosophical and political underpinnings of the Midwifery Model of Care.

Number of Credits: 1.2

This course surveys the contextual history of childbirth and the political history of the profession of midwifery, with a particular focus on the emergence of the Certified Professional Midwife in the United States. Students are asked to explore how childbirth practices have evolved through history and how the midwife’s role has transitioned throughout. Special attention is focused on the culture of midwifery in the United States in the past 300 years, including the influence of indigenous midwives, immigrant & settler midwives, and the grand midwives among enslaved and free Africans in the US. These intersecting histories, alongside the development of the medical and nursing professions, paint a continually expanding backdrop for the professionalization of midwifery in the United States, and of the CPM credential.

Number of Credits: 4.0

An overview of anatomy and physiology of the human body by system with special emphasis on the pregnant body, neonatal development, and applied knowledge of the human body for the practicing midwife.

Textbooks:

  • Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology – 12th Edition (or any recent edition) by Elaine N. Marieb
  • Maternal, Fetal & Neonatal Physiology – 4th Edition by Susan Tucker Blackburn
  • Mayes Midwifery – 14th Edition by Henderson and Macdonald, Bailliere Tindall 
  • Prenatal & Postnatal Care: A Woman-Centered Approach by Robin Jordan

Number of Credits: 1.6

This course teaches the student to perform a head to toe physical exam, including a gynecological exam with Pap test. Students can practice using each other as models or request an outside model to learn from.

Number of Credits: 3.0

This course lays the foundation for excellent prenatal care in the midwifery model. Topics include embryonic and fetal development, pregnancy-induced physiological changes, normal parameters of pregnancy, nutrition in pregnancy, and the components of routine prenatal care. Students learn and practice all aspects of care for the healthy pregnant people.

Number of Credits: 1.0

Skills Practice 1-5 are for practicing skill competencies, most of which have been previously introduced in a prior course. Students are asked to come prepared to practice and perform each of the skills listed for each class day. Skills exams (OSATS) are administered during each Skills Course that requires students to demonstrate proficiency in the skill objectives for that semester.

Number of Credits: 0.8

This series of courses explore a wide array of professional issues for midwives such as charting, shared decision-making, ethics, quality improvement, policy-making, health disparities, healthcare delivery systems and professional associations. The business skills necessary to open and operate a midwifery practice are also discussed.

Number of Credits: 1.2

This coursework begins by exploring the dimensions of one’s identity in society, examine the concepts of power and privilege that are associated with identity. Following this introduction, the coursework explores how elements of power and privilege (racism, sexism, classism, etc.) impact health outcomes in society – specifically examining how poorer-outcomes are associated with people & identities afforded less privilege/power in society. The curriculum explores barriers to access to, and the provision of, midwifery care by Certified Professional Midwives. These courses lay the ground-work for the on-going work of midwives in dismantling obstacles to health, and by extension, midwifery care in underserved/underrepresented communities and beyond.

Number of Credits: 0.8

This course creates a space for students to process their life changing journey towards midwifery with the help of a skilled facilitator. In this safe and therapeutic context, students learn counseling skills and begin practicing these together.

Number of Credits: 1.0

This course prepares students to be able to read, understand and use scientific research in their work as midwives. Students will learn the terminology used in research literature and the essential components of quality research studies and discuss the importance of using scientific evidence in their practice as midwives.

Number of Credits: 1.o


Semester 2 Courses

Number of Credits: 3.2

This core course explores the process of normal labor and birth in detail, and the midwife’s role in caring for a laboring person up through the immediate post partum period. Basic midwifery skills such as labor support, aseptic technique, universal precautions, intrapartum examinations, injections, and suturing techniques are learned and practiced.

Number of Credits: 1.6

This course focuses on the birth parent in the period after giving birth until the sixth week postpartum. Students will learn the normal physiology of this period as well as the potential complications and their management options. All aspects of midwifery care in the postpartum period will be discussed, including the care and support of the physical, social and psychological transitions inherent in this period of a person’s life.

Number of Credits: 0.8

This course provides a foundation in human lactation and infant feeding. Students will learn about the physiology of lactation, as well as the skills to support the initiation and assessment of newborn feeding. Further, students will learn how to trouble-shoot common challenges and concerns experienced by lactating parents, in order to support a healthy lactation and feeding relationships from birth into the postpartum period.

Number of Credits: 1.2

This coursework begins by exploring the dimensions of one’s identity in society, examine the concepts of power and privilege that are associated with identity. Following this introduction, the coursework explores how elements of power and privilege (racism, sexism, classism, etc.) impact health outcomes in society – specifically examining how poorer-outcomes are associated with people & identities afforded less privilege/power in society. The curriculum explores barriers to access to, and the provision of, midwifery care by Certified Professional Midwives. These courses lay the ground-work for the on-going work of midwives in dismantling obstacles to health, and by extension, midwifery care in underserved/underrepresented communities and beyond.

Number of Credits: 1.0

This series of courses explore a wide array of professional issues for midwives such as charting, shared decision-making, ethics, quality improvement, policy-making, health disparities, healthcare delivery systems and professional associations. The business skills necessary to open and operate a midwifery practice are also discussed.

Number of Credits: 2.0

The focus of this course is the newborn baby from the point of birth to six weeks post partum. This includes the physiological transition from fetus to newborn, nutrition for the newborn and infant, infant care, and parent education topics related to the newborn. Students will learn how to perform a complete newborn assessment and know the parameters of normal for the newborn.

Number of Credits: 1.1

This is a study of the macro and micronutrients and their role in the body to promote health. Students will learn how they can use food and supplements to promote health and treat conditions during the childbearing year and beyond.

Number of Credits: 4.0

The focus of this course is prevention and midwifery management of deviations from the normal course of pregnancy. A comprehensive set of potential variations and complications will be explored and students will be expected to develop their management skills in relation to each.

Number of Credits: 0.3

Students will learn the benefits, risks, and how-to’s of birth in water.

Number of Credits: 1.7

Skills Practice 1-5 are for practicing skill competencies, most of which have been previously introduced in a prior course. Students are asked to come prepared to practice and perform each of the skills listed for each class day. Skills exams (OSATS) are administered during each Skills Course that requires students to demonstrate proficiency in the skill objectives for that semester.

Number of Credits: 1.0

This course prepares students to work with clients with current or past mental health issues: depression, personality disorders, eating disorders, trauma histories, grief. Class topics include treatments, counseling techniques, resources and when to refer a client for higher level care or intervention.

Number of Credits: 2.0

At the beginning of their second semester, students will be placed with a local women’s healthcare practice to gain observational and some preliminary hands-on experiences caring for women. Students are placed in their rotations by the Clinical Director, and the two placements, Clinical Rotation 1 and Clinical Rotation 2, each entail 75 contact hours working with their assigned provider. Students may have rotations in local hospitals, with local home birth midwives, or in well-woman practices. Students are expected to have functional vehicles and pay for their own gas driving to and from placements.

Number of Credits: 0.3

This course prepares students to perform adult cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and it ends with a BLS healthcare provider certification. This certification meets the requirements for the NARM application when working toward the CPM credential.

Number of Credits: 1.o


Semester 3 Courses

Number of Credits: 0.8

This course is designed to inspire students to look at their own eating habits as they learn to counsel clients on optimal nutrition in pregnancy, post- partum and throughout their lives. We will take a broad look at the evolution of agriculture and the human diet and the impact that has had on the health of populations. Particular attention will be paid to the modern American diet and the effects of the current food industry on the quality of our food. This course is about exploring what food justice means and how we can participate in creating it. We will discuss strategies for eating a healthy whole foods diet affordably and how we can work with clients in an empowering, non-judgmental, culturally appropriate and transformative way to improve their health through nutrition. Part of this course will be spent in the kitchen.

Number of Credits: o.4

The basics of newborn resuscitation will be covered and practiced in this course, including PPV, chest compressions and scenario practice. This course prepares the student for the full NRP Certification course to come later in the program.

Number of Credits: 1.0

This is an opportunity for students to step back and revisit their call to midwifery, recharge their batteries, and explore ways to make being a midwifery student and ultimately a practicing midwife sustainable.

Number of Credits: 1.6

Students will learn the assessment, treatment and appropriate referral or transfer of care for newborns with complications.

Number of Credits: 1.6

This course teaches the indications for, the risks and benefits of and interpretation of the results of the routine, optional and specialized lab tests available to pregnant women and their newborns. Students will also learn basic lab skills used in midwifery offices such as microscopy, hemoglobin/hematocrit, and urinalysis.

Number of Credits: 2.0

This course prepares students to provide routine preventive care outside the childbearing year. Topics include sexuality, infertility, preconception counseling, gynecological disorders and infections, breast and cervical cancer screening, contraception, unwanted pregnancy and menopause.

Number of Credits: 0.8

This survey course is designed to introduce the midwifery student to the language and concepts of basic public health issues that relate to being a member of the maternity care team. Students will explore issues like social determinants of health, the principles of community-based primary care, causes of maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity, basic epidemiology, the principles of health education, and national public health programs and initiatives.

Number of Credits: 1.2

This course is an introduction to medicinal plants with a special focus on herbs for birthing people and their babies in the childbearing year. The pharmacology, safety, and benefits of commonly used herbs will be included. Students will learn plant identification, harvesting and how to make medicinal preparations.

Number of Credits: 4.0

This course focuses on the complications and variations that can occur during the birth process and in the immediate post partum period. This important course explores each complication in detail and how it is managed in the out-of-hospital setting. Students will practice managing these complications through role play, case studies, and simulation activities. Proper transport etiquette from home or birth center to the hospital is discussed.

Number of Credits: 1.6

This series of courses explore a wide array of professional issues for midwives such as charting, shared decision-making, ethics, quality improvement, policy-making, health disparities, healthcare delivery systems and professional associations. The business skills necessary to open and operate a midwifery practice are also discussed.

Number of Credits: 1.4

Skills Practice 1-5 are for practicing skill competencies, most of which have been previously introduced in a prior course. Students are asked to come prepared to practice and perform each of the skills listed for each class day. Skills exams (OSATS) are administered during each Skills Course that requires students to demonstrate proficiency in the skill objectives for that semester.

Number of Credits: 0.4

This workshop is an opportunity for students to practice their suturing skills on real tissue.

Number of Credits: 2.0

At the beginning of their second semester, students will be placed with a local women’s healthcare practice to gain observational and some preliminary hands-on experiences caring for women. Students are placed in their rotations by the Clinical Director, and the two placements, Clinical Rotation 1 and Clinical Rotation 2, each entail 75 contact hours working with their assigned provider. Students may have rotations in local hospitals, with local home birth midwives, or in well-woman practices. Students are expected to have functional vehicles and pay for their own gas driving to and from placements.

Number of Credits: 1.o


Semester 4 Courses

Number of Credits: 1.4

This course gives a foundation in pharmacology with a special focus on the pregnant and lactating people. Students will explore the safety of over-the-counter and prescription drugs during pregnancy and lactation with an emphasis on out-of-hospital practice. They will learn about the commonly used drugs in pregnancy and birth, their administration, dose, and possible side effects. Students will learn how to choose and administer, the appropriate medication for het prevention and treatment of eclampsia, prophylactic antibiotics in labor, anti-hemorrhagic medications, and IV fluids.

Number of Credits: 0.6

Students will explore the risks of giving birth vaginally after a Cesarean Section, how to minimize them, and the current controversy and evidence relating to VBAC both inside and outside the hospital setting. Cesarean birth procedure and risks are discussed.

Number of Credits: 0.4

The overall goal of this class is to prepare future midwives to facilitate a smooth transition from home to hospital and a positive hospital experience for their clients in the case of transfer of care for prenatal risk factors or transport during the birth. This requires knowledge of typical procedures done, equipment used and policies observed in the hospital maternity center. It also requires an understanding of the client’s choices, rights, and desires for her birth experience as well as developing the ability to advocate for these desires while respecting the boundaries necessary in a transfer of care.

Number of Credits: 0.4

This is an introductory course in homeopathy with a special focus on the person in the childbearing year and the newborn.

Number of Credits: 3.0

This course results in an in-depth research paper on a relevant midwifery topic of the student’s choosing and an oral presentation to our community.

Number of Credits: 0.4

This introductory course will explore the beneficial, logistical, financial and legal aspects of opening and operating a freestanding birth center.

Number of Credits: 1.2

This series of courses explore a wide array of professional issues for midwives such as charting, shared decision-making, ethics, quality improvement, policy-making, health disparities, healthcare delivery systems and professional associations. The business skills necessary to open and operate a midwifery practice are also discussed.

Number of Credits: 0.4

In this course, students will learn how to make management decisions about the need for neonatal resuscitation, and they will learn the skills necessary to perform resuscitations using positive pressure ventilation (PPV) and chest compressions. Upon completion of the class, including successfully passing both a skills and written exam, students will receive certification in Neonatal Resuscitation from the American Heart Association.

Number of Credits: 1.2

Skills Practice 1-5 are for practicing skill competencies, most of which have been previously introduced in a prior course. Students are asked to come prepared to practice and perform each of the skills listed for each class day. Skills exams (OSATS) are administered during each Skills Course that requires students to demonstrate proficiency in the skill objectives for that semester.

Number of Credits: 8.0

The bulk of experiential and hands-on learning in a student’s training at Birthwise happens in the Preceptorship, a one-on-one training relationship arranged by the student with a practicing midwife anywhere in the United States. Preceptorship placements begin in the fourth semester for Campus Students and in the second semester for Community Students. Students remain in their preceptorship until they’ve completed their required numbers and are ready to graduate.


Semester 5 Courses

Number of Credits: 17.0

Number of Credits: 1.2

For Campus Students, 3-day Homecoming sessions are opportunities for students to return to the Birthwise Campus, spend time together, share and discuss interesting case studies, practice advanced skills, and be evaluated via OSATS (Objective, Structured Assessment of Technical Skills). Students have to arrange for travel to and from Birthwise and housing while they are here.


Semester 6 Courses

Number of Credits: 17.0

Number of Credits: 1.2

This 3-day workshop is an opportunity for students to return to the Birthwise Campus one last time before graduation, spend time together, share and discuss interesting case studies, practice advanced skills, and be evaluated via OSATS (Objective, Structured Assessment of Technical Skills). Students have to arrange for travel to and from Birthwise and housing while they are here. Graduation takes place the Saturday after Homecoming 2 for students who are finished with their clinical and course work.