FAQs About Midwives
Question: Is midwifery care safe?
A: Midwifery care is safe. Midwives are university-educated experts in normal pregnancy, birth and newborn care, and like all health care professionals, engage in ongoing learning and training. Midwives are regulated by the province. Midwifery care is evidence-based and well-researched. Studies show that both home birth and hospital birth with a midwife are safe, where midwives are integrated into the health care system.
Question: Do I have to have my baby at home?
A: You can plan a home birth or a hospital birth with a midwife. The majority of births with a midwife in Canada happen in a hospital. About 25 percent of women plan a home birth. In some places, such as Quebec, women can have their babies in a birth centre with midwives.
It is a good idea to call as soon as you know you are pregnant so you can start receiving prenatal care right away.
Question: Do I have to pay for midwifery care?
A: No. In all places in Canada where midwifery is regulated, government pays for midwifery care.
Question: How do I find a midwife?
A: Find your provincial association of midwives online and search by your location. You do not need a referral from your family doctor. Call to make an appointment. It is a good idea to call as soon as you know you are pregnant so you can start receiving prenatal care right away, but some midwives will have room to accept clients at later stages in their pregnancies as well. Call at any time during your pregnancy.
Question: What is the difference between a doula and a midwife?
A: A birth doula is a trained labour support person who provides emotional and physical support to a labouring woman and her partner. While she is not a medical professional, she can offer a wide range of comfort measures. You would find and pay your doula yourself. Doula services are not covered by the Ministry of Health in any province. You can have both a doula and a midwife attend your labour and birth.
Midwives work in a model of informed choice, meaning they put the woman at the centre of her own care and give her research-based information with which to make decisions about her health care.
Question: Can I have a midwife and a doctor?
A: No. Women can have either a midwife or a doctor for pregnancy, birth and newborn care. Midwives, obstetricians and family physicians are all considered primary caregivers. A primary caregiver takes responsibility for your care.
Question: What are the main reasons for choosing a midwife?
- Midwives provide continuity of care, meaning women receive care from one or a small group of midwives and are very likely to know the person who attends their birth. Midwives are on call for their clients by pager 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Midwives work in a model of informed choice, meaning they put the woman at the centre of her own care and give her research-based information with which to make decisions about her health care. Appointments with a midwife are generally 30 to 60 minutes in length.
- Midwives are the only health care professionals specifically trained in home birth.
- Midwives provide care from the time a woman knows she is pregnant until six weeks after her baby is born. Midwives provide care to both mother and baby after the birth, including several appointments at the woman’s home in the first week after birth. This helps with recovery from birth, establishing breastfeeding and reduces trips to emergency.
By: Association of Ontario Midwives