Professional midwives have been a part of the maternal health system in Sweden for over 300 years. Midwives do not only care for women during pregnancies and childbirth, but also provide councelling for contraceptives and sexual health to both men and women.
A qualified midwife is educated with a Bachelor’s in Nursing, supplemented with a Master’s degree in reproductive, perinatal and sexual health. The title midwife is protected by law. If you want to work as a midwife in Sweden you need to be authorized with a Swedish license.
This article provides you with everything you need to know about obtaining a license to work as a midwife. It also provides you with information about the profession and a brief history of the long tradition of midwifery in Sweden.
Five steps to become a licensed midwife
1. Submit your education for assessment
To become registered as a midwife you need a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, supplemented by 18 months of midwifery education. If you are educated outside of the EU/EEA, you can submit your education for assessment at the National Board of Health and Welfare to see if you have the required qualifications.
2. Take the proficiency test for nurses and midwives
Once your education has been assessed, the next step is to take a proficiency test. The test is administered in Swedish, and will determine whether your proficiency meets the set requirements.
To get your license as a midwife you have to take two different proficiency tests. First you need to take the test for nurses and then the test for midwives. The theoretical test is conducted twice a year, and consists of four subtests:
- Reproductive, perinatal and sexual health and the profession of midwives
The test contains questions about the midwifery and its scientific basis, evidence and proven experience, basic gynecology, contraception, prescribing rights, cohabitation and sexuality, gender perspectives and women’s living conditions, laws and regulations, and the midwifery profession.
- Pregnancy, health monitoring, parenthood and pregnancy abnormalities and complications
The test contains questions about normal and complicated pregnancy, health monitoring of mother and fetus, parental support and participation.
- Maternity care and postnatal care. Normal and complicated childbirth.
The test contains questions about basic obstetric concepts, the psychology of childbirth and the role of the partner, fear of childbirth, obstetric care, pain relief, stretch marks and suturing as well as childbirth operations, acute situations and health / ill health after childbirth.
- Postnatal care. The neonatal period and the breastfeeding process.
The test contains questions about the newborn, full-term or premature, neonatal CPR, breastfeeding support and abnormalities.
3. Study Swedish laws and regulations
When you have passed the proficiency test, it is time for a course in Swedish laws and regulations that applies to the healthcare system. This is a digital course conducted by Umeå University.
4. Clinical training
It is time to demonstrate your skills and suitability for the profession. The clinical training also gives you a practical introduction to the functions and practices within the Swedish healthcare system.
You will undergo your clinical training at two workplaces for three months each in no particular order. You complete one training period at a maternity ward and another one at a midwife’s clinic.
5. Apply for a midwife license
After finishing all required steps to become a registered midwife, you can now apply for a license. When you have obtained your license, you can now begin your career as a midwife in Sweden.
Did you know? About maternal care in Sweden
The intention of the Swedish system for midwifery care to women and families was to strengthen the role of the woman and had its political background in the principles of gender equality. Today, midwives provide 80 percent of prenatal care and 80 percent of reproductive health services in Sweden.
- In 2019, 108 000 babies were born in Sweden.
- The maternal mortality in Sweden is 3-4 out of 100 000.
- For every child, the family has 480 days of paid parental leave.
Already in 1974, the Swedish abortion law allowed free abortion until the 18th week of pregnancy. In 2019, there were 36 151 legal induced abortions reported. Despite the agitated conversations of free abortion around the world, Sweden provides a clear answer: Allowing free abortions in the 70s did not increase the actual number of abortions.
A long and proud history of professional midwives
Sweden has a long tradition of practicing midwives, going back to the year 1711 when it became an authorized profession. In 1886 the Swedish Association of Midwives was established. The organization works independently to promote women’s sexual and reproductive health, develop professional midwifery skills, and improve reproductive and perinatal care. Today, it is an important voice in the international discussion regarding issues related to women’s health and reproduction.
One important aspect of the low maternal mortality rate in Sweden is the public funding of maternal and child healthcare. Free access and use of health care during pregnancy became available in Sweden during the 1950’s. Today, nearly 100 percent of all child births take place at a hospital with an attending midwife.
When a child is born the midwife always needs to confirm the birth with a birth certificate, which will be sent to the population registration authority. Having done this for over 200 years, Sweden’s birth registration system is one of the oldest and most reliable in the world.
Ready to start your journey as a registered midwife?
Sweden is a great country to work and live in. Easily combine your job with generous holidays together with your family and friends. There is a need for more midwives in Sweden, so there will always be a job position waiting for you.
Cure Staff can help you with everything from submitting your education and required documents, courses in Swedish and the legislation that is relevant for your profession, as well as finding an internship for clinical training. We will guide you from the start til the day you have obtained your license to work as a midwife in the Swedish healthcare system.
We want you to get the best possible start of your new journey! If you consider working in Sweden, contact CureStaff to get a successful start of your new life.