Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Midwifery placements

As a midwifery student you’ll undertake placements in all three years of your course. The placements introduce you to the work of a midwife in a variety of settings.

You’ll get involved in the delivery of antenatal (during pregnancy), intrapartum (during labour and birth) and postnatal (after birth) care to the woman and her family. Not all women will have uncomplicated pregnancies and births; thus you’ll experience the multidisciplinary working of different members of the maternity services, such as obstetricians, paediatricians, physicians and physiotherapists.

As you move through the three years there will be an increasing shift from being a directly supervised student to working with indirect supervision. This will match the increasing amount of knowledge and experience that you’ll have gained.

In each year you’ll undertake three main placements (one for each academic trimester).



  • Rosie Maternity Hospital
  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Hinchingbrooke Hospital
  • Huntingdon and Peterborough City Hospital
  • Peterborough North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust


  • Basildon
  • Chelmsford
  • Colchester
  • Harlow
  • Southend


  • The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn NHS Trust

These maternity units also have a related community area that includes both urban and rural placements.

Your placements will be based at the maternity unit within the main hospital and in Essex can involve travelling to a Birthing Unit that is in a different geographical location to the main Maternity Unit. Community Midwives aren’t generally based at the main maternity unit; they often work from GP surgeries or Children’s Centres. This can make travelling more challenging. Parking may also be limited at some venues.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you can travel to all your placement locations and cover the cost of your travel expenses. Whilst we make every effort to ensure that your placement is within a reasonable travelling distance and time, some placement areas do cover wider geographical areas and there may be a requirement to travel between different hospitals within the same trust.

You may consider that it is more practical to have your accommodation closer to your main maternity unit placement as during your placements you’ll be expected to work shifts involving days, weekends and nights. This is because the maternity service operates 24 hours per day. Should you choose to have accommodation nearer to the University there may be an option of booking temporary accommodation close to your placement area to reduce the travelling time when you have two or three shifts in a row; this accommodation may be at the hospital or you may consider budget hotel-like accommodation. Any accommodation costs need to be met by the student.

You’ll undertake a six week placement in each of the following areas of the maternity services: CommunityPostnatal wardBirthing Unit/ Delivery Unit

There is also a two week placement after the summer holiday where you could be allocated to any of the placement areas identified above.

There are three main placements in this year ranging from 8 - 10 weeks in total. During each placement there will be one main placement and you may experience at least one other shorter placement e.g., Neonatal Unit.

Due to the slight variation in provision of maternity services you can expect to experience any of the following during both Year 2 and 3: Antenatal Inpatient services, Antenatal Outpatient services, Delivery UnitPostnatal Ward and/or Community.

Additionally you’ll also undertake a two weeks in a Gynaecological/Surgical placement to gain specific care skills related to pre-operative and post-operative care, care of the sick patient; two weeks in the Neonatal Unit to gain experience in the care of sick and/or preterm babies and their families; and two weeks non-midwifery placement to gain a wider appreciation of the multiplicity of services within the NHS.

At the end of Year 2 you have the opportunity to undertake a three week Elective Observational visit to a maternity facility within the UK or abroad. Travelling abroad allows you to gain a greater understanding of global health issues, impact of culture and an appreciation of resources within the UK. Visits within the UK and abroad need to be fully funded by the student.

Read more about read more about year 2.

In Year 3 you are consolidating your knowledge and experience and will return to a number of placements that you undertook in Year 1 and /or 2.

There are three main placements in this year ranging from 7 - 10 weeks in total. During each placement there will be one main placement and you may experience at least one other shorter placement.

A focus of the first Trimester placement completes the requirements for the Newborn Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) module. This is a comprehensive examination of a newborn that can be undertaken by midwives who have received this specific training. Passing this module means that you are a NIPE practitioner on qualification.

Read more about read more about year 3.