Traditional midwifery is making a big comeback. Stemming from concerns over cost and access and growing awareness surrounding newborn and maternity deaths, strategic healthcare initiatives and investments in midwifery are being made across the world, from the United States to Nigeria to China.
This is promising news. After all, the World Health Organization states that “up to two-thirds of newborn deaths can be prevented if known, effective health measures are provided.” A new generation of professionally trained midwives could ensure more healthy and safe childbirth and recoveries across the world.
By participating in a midwife volunteering program, you can make the world a safer place for mothers and their newborns. You can also gain experience in a very crucial profession.
Let this article be your resource for maternity volunteering and midwifery internships.
What You’ll Do As a Midwife Intern or Volunteer
Each program has its own unique needs, as midwifery is all about providing tailored care to meet the mother’s physical, emotional, and cultural needs. There are varying program requirements depending on the organization you travel with, so be sure to check those before applying.
General activities/duties include:
- Assist local healthcare professionals with various administrative and sanitation duties to offset staff shortages.
- Observe and help local midwives to gain more knowledge.
- Provide healthcare services to the mother and infant, such as checking blood pressure and administering immunizations (depends on your training/experience).
- Experience and help with pre-natal consultancies, births, Cesarean sections, and post-natal care (depends on your training/experience).
- Educate local mothers about family planning and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS prevention, infant nutrition, etc.
Now, let’s highlight some programs (note: fees get cheaper per week the longer you stay).
Featured Midwifery Volunteer Programs & Internships
International Volunteer Headquarters
Founded in 2007, International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ) has become one of the most trusted names in volunteering. IVHQ has sent nearly 88,000 interns and volunteers abroad.
Midwifery volunteering in Tanzania with IVHQ is quite popular. During the maternity and family planning program, you shadow local doctors and potentially provide basic care. Program fees start at just $270 for one week.
Plan My Gap Year
Offering programs across 17 countries in South America, Africa and Asia, Plan My Gap Year is a well-respected volunteer organization. They average more than 4,000 volunteers per year.
For midwifery internships and volunteer programs, Plan My Gap Year has several options, including:
- Ghana maternity and midwifery program: Observe local midwives and other staff provide care to expecting mothers and engage in hands-on care if you’re at least currently in medical school. Volunteer fees start from $714 for two weeks.
- Bali maternity and midwifery program: Watch and help local midwives and doctors, and learn how traditional beliefs and culture in Bali are integrated with modern medical practices. Volunteer fees start from $684 for two weeks.
Love Volunteers launched in 2009 with a commitment to quality, transparency, and affordability. Past volunteers highly recommend Love Volunteers to those looking for programs.
Love Volunteers currently offers a maternity volunteering program in Morocco, where you can shadow and observe local medical staff. This midwifery volunteering program also provides the chance to see childbirth. Fees start at just $1369 for four weeks.
Founded in 1992, Projects Abroad sends about 10,000 volunteers and interns abroad each year. A very reputable organization, the variety of programs they have is incredible.
A midwifery internship with Projects Abroad is a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable international experience. You can travel to a developing country to work alongside skilled local midwives in maternity wards of hospitals or clinics.
Boost your resume for college or work applications, and gain deeper insight into maternity care. You could also get the opportunity to observe prenatal consultancies, births, caesarean sections, and post-natal care.
Interns work in communities that often have limited resources and access to healthcare. You’ll play a key role in providing important healthcare to communities in outlying areas, helping those who need it most. If you need to complete a medical elective, they can organize that for you as well.
Midwifery internships with Projects Abroad:
- Travel to Africa and observe the work of experienced midwives in Ghana or Tanzania
- Gain work experience in a maternity ward in Peru
- Work in the maternity units at hospitals in Sri Lanka
A Broader View Volunteers Corp.
Offering more than 245 programs across 25 countries, A Broader View aims to lift up the neediest communities. Founded in 2007, the organization has sent nearly 25,000 volunteers abroad.
A Broader View’s midwifery volunteer project in Uganda is one of the best of its kind in the world. Volunteers provide assistance to local staff and offer educational outreach to expecting mothers. Those with prior medical/midwifery training or experience get the chance to help with curative and preventive health services. Program fees start at $820 for one week.
Frontier empowers volunteers to work for good across the world. With well over 100,000 successful placements since 1989, they’re doing their part.
Frontier’s Venezuela healthcare program offers the chance to volunteer as a midwife. You’ll mostly be observing and assisting doctors and nurses as needed, but you can provide more hands-on services if you have medical training. Fees start at $1,895 for four weeks.
Naturally Africa Volunteers
Naturally Africa Volunteers provides people the chance to make a difference in a variety of ways across the continent. Recent volunteers have great things to say about how the organization’s projects deliver tangible improvements.
Naturally Africa Volunteers’ medical project in Lake Malawi gives you the chance to help in a maternity volunteering program. Your key responsibilities will include assisting understaffed health centers and creating awareness to reduce the spread of epidemic diseases that impact mothers and newborns, such as HIV/AIDS. Program fees begin from only $690 for two weeks.
Finding the Right Midwifery Internships or Volunteer Program
You have plenty of trustworthy choices throughout the globe, such as those listed here. Consider your budget and preferences for location and activities/responsibilities. Think about where you can make the biggest impact and what program will benefit you most (both professionally and personally).
With careful thinking, you’ll choose the best midwifery volunteer or internship program. You’ll soon be packing for the trip of a lifetime.
Nick Callos · Writer
With a BA in English Literature & Writing from Boston College, Nick researches and writes about volunteer, intern, and teach abroad programs worldwide. He has studied abroad and taught English in Chengdu, China, and aims to help fellow travelers make a lasting impact on the communities they visit.