Is midwifery care safe?

Evidence continues to demonstrate that midwifery care is a safe choice for low-risk healthy women. In studies where midwifery was compared to physician-led care for low-risk women, midwifery clients experienced lower rates of forceps, vacuum extractions, caesarean sections, episiotomies, infections and babies born requiring resuscitation.

I like the idea of midwifery care but want to have my baby in the hospital. Is this possible?

Part of the midwifery care philosophy includes a woman's choice of birthplace. Women in the rural foothills area can choose to have their birth at the High River Hospital accompanied by the midwives.

Is home birthing safe?

YES!! Research has shown that planned home births for low-risk women are as safe as a hospital birth. Your midwife can give you more information regarding home birth and help decide if home birth is a safe choice for you.

How much does midwifery cost?

As of April 1st, 2009 Midwifery care is fully covered in Alberta. Provided you have an Alberta Heath Card, midwifery services are fully covered from conception to six weeks after your baby is born. If you are planning a home birth there may be an added cost for supplies; this usually does not exceed $65.

Do I continue to see my doctor and my midwife?

In Canada, Midwives are primary care providers. This means that during pregnancy and for the first six weeks after birth, you only see your midwife for pregnancy related issues or concerns. After six weeks postpartum, your midwife will send a letter to your family doctor with a full summary of your prenatal, birth and postpartum care.

Midwives can write prescriptions, order blood tests and ultrasounds and arrange for genetic screening if this is something you choose. If a condition arises during the course of your pregnancy that requires a consultation with a physician or specialist, your midwife will arrange for you to be seen either by your family doctor, and obstetrician or a pediatrician.

When do I see my midwife?

You should call a midwife as soon as you find out you are pregnant. There is great demand for midwifery care in Alberta. Your first clinic appointment is generally one hour long and is scheduled at around 8-10 weeks in your pregnancy. After that you see your midwife every 4 weeks until 28-30 weeks and then every two weeks until 36 weeks and then weekly until you have your baby. These appointments are generally 30-45 minutes. After birth, your midwife will arrange to come to your home 24hrs after your baby's birth and on days 3 & 5. You will be seen with your new baby back in the clinic at 2 and 6 weeks postpartum.

I am interested in midwifery and natural birth but I have never had a baby before. What if I need pain medications?

Midwives are experts in natural normal birth; they also respect the fact that birth is your personal journey and support the choices you make during your pregnancy and birthing process. We will help to guide and support you during birth and help to provide you with different ways to help encourage a natural birth without the use of medications. This may include using things such as controlled breathing, heat, massage, water and positional changes. If during labour you desire pain medications or an epidural, we will arrange for you to have one and continue to offer suggestions to help encourage labour to progress. If you are planning to use medication or know you want an epidural for your labour and birth, your needs may be better met with standard obstetrical care.

What sort of training do midwives have?

Registered Midwives in the province of Alberta have various educational backgrounds. Some were trained in the Canadian University model, some in the European University model and some were trained in the traditional apprenticeship model. As midwifery has become regulated across Canada, new midwives are required to hold Bachelors degrees, write a national exam and are required to meet the stringent criteria set out by the Midwifery Health Disciplines committee in order to register and practice in Alberta. All midwives in the province are required to have up- to - date certification in emergency skills for both mothers and newborns. For more information about midwifery regulations and education please visit: http://www.alberta-midwives.com/education.php

What is the difference between a Doula and a Midwife?

Doula's DO NOT provide any clinical care or deliver babies. Doula's DO provide excellent continuous labour and postpartum support. Doula's work as a part of the childbirth team, this may include working with either with your physician, nurses or with your midwives. If you would like the extra support at your birth, a Doula may be a great option in addition to midwifery care. For more information please visit: http://www.dona.org