Frequently Asked Questions and Answers - Courtesy of the Midwifery Assocation of BC
Midwives are experts in healthy pregnancy and birth. Registered
Midwives in BC offer primary maternity care to healthy pregnant women
and their newborn babies from early pregnancy, through labor and birth,
until about six weeks postpartum. What does this really mean? Midwives
listen, observe, educate, guide and care. They order and interpret tests
and discuss results. They screen for physical, psychological, emotional
and social health. They are with women during pregnancy, labour and
birth, normal and complicated. They catch babies. They do home visits
postpartum. They help with breastfeeding and adjusting to life with a
new baby. They work together and with other health professionals. They
practice evidence based, woman centered maternity and newborn care and
are an established part of the BC health care system.
Midwives are registered with and regulated by the College of Midwives of British Columbia
according to the BC Health Professions Act, the Midwives Regulation and
the CMBC Bylaws. Midwives have been regulated and legally recognized as
autonomous health care practitioners in BC since 1998.
BC Ministry of Health funding covers the cost of midwifery care for all BC residents with a valid Carecard through the BC Medical Services Plan
It is important to note that coverage is provided for only one type of
healthcare provider for healthy pregnancies in BC see "Can I have a
doctor and a midwife?" below.
BC Medical Services Plan covers only one primary care provider for the
duration of your pregnancy and birth, to six weeks postpartum for
healthy pregnancies. The choice of caregiver during your pregnancy is up
to you. Midwives are experts in healthy pregnancy and normal birth and
consult with Family Physicians
and other specialists such as Obstetricians
as the need arises.
No referral is required.
Contact us ideally as soon as you know you are pregnant. Our practice can become full quickly. However, you can call at any time as spaces may become available.
Our visits with you happen about as often as visits with physicians in pregnancy.
Most visits in the first part of pregnancy are scheduled every three to
six weeks and last 30 to 45 minutes. In the third trimester visits
are scheduled more frequently and are often every week during the last
month of pregnancy. These longer visits with you allow for physical, emotional and
social health assessments and allow time for informed decision making
and the development of a trusting relationship. Postpartum visits usually take place in the hospital initially after a hospital birth,
and then in the new family's home once they have returned, or at home
after a home birth. After the first week, visits usually happen
back in the clinic and continue to about six weeks postpartum when your
care is transferred back to your family physician. Between visits, we provide 24/7 call coverage for urgent care or concerns.
offer a complete panel of prenatal laboratory tests, genetic screening
and diagnosis options, ultrasound imaging and many other tests and
procedures for women and newborns. A midwife's scope of practice
includes the use of many medications that may be indicated in pregnancy,
during birth including emergency situations or pain medication, and for
mom or baby postpartum. If medication or testing is required outside of
this scope of practice, midwives consult with and refer to physicians
as indicated for more specialized care.
Absolutely. We offer the choice of birthplace to healthy, low risk women based on the
principles of informed decision making.
it is possible to transfer care at any time in pregnancy, however, while we try to accommodate women transferring late in a pregnancy, sometimes it is not possible as we have no space available. But please call us and find out! We'd be happy to talk to you.
We offer a range of natural and pharmaceutical pain relief options,
including access to epidurals. It is paramount in midwifery care that
women have access to the information necessary to make informed
decisions about the use of pain relief options. These options are
discussed during prenatal visits with you as well as during prenatal classes
should you choose to attend classes in your community.
There are no age restrictions on midwifery clients.
a midwife as your primary care provider in BC lowers your chance of
having a cesarean section however in certain circumstances a cesarean
birth may be recommended as a safer option than vaginal birth. We are involved in the decision making process with you whether
in labour or prenatally, and will be present during cesarean
births and for healthy baby care afterwards.
do not provide medical care and do not deliver babies. Midwives are
trained to provide all the necessary medical care and to monitor the
health and well-being of you and your baby. Doulas work as a part of the
team, with a midwife or doctor and nurse. Doulas provide continuous
emotional and physical support to the laboring woman and her partner,
and are a positive addition to the birth team for couples who want extra