Frequently asked questions...
do midwives do?
Is midwifery care safe?
Is midwifery care legal?
Do I have to pay for midwifery
Can I have a midwife and a doctor
at the same time?
What is the working relationship
between midwives and physicians?
What experience and training
do midwives have?
Can I have a midwife and still
give birth in the hospital?
Does having a midwife mean
I can't have an epidural?
Do all visits with my midwife take
place in my home?
What is the difference between a midwife and a
do midwives do?
Midwives are experts in normal birth. In a nutshell, Registered
Midwives in BC provide primary maternity care throughout pregnancy,
for the duration of labor and birth, and care for mother and baby
until up to eight 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, in normal situations and when complications develop.
They catch babies. They do home visits postpartum. They help with
breastfeeding and adjusting to life with a new baby. They work with
other midwives 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.
midwifery care safe?
There is a large body of evidence that supports midwifery care as
a safe choice for low-risk healthy women. Data gathered from New
Zealand, Australia, the UK, Holland, the US and Canada where regulated
midwifery is widely practiced shows that midwives provide safe,
high quality care.
Midwifery clients experience lower rates of forceps application,
vacuum extractions, cesarean section births, episiotomies, infections
and babies born requiring resuscitation, when care is provided by
trained, registered midwives such as exist in BC.
midwifery care legal?
Yes, since 1998 midwifery has been regulated through the Health
Professions Act by the College of Midwives of British Columbia.
The title "midwife" is protected and its use by anyone
other than a Registered Midwife is illegal. Currently, there are
approximately 125 Registered Midwives in the province, both in rural
and urban centres. For midwifery information across Canada see canadianmidwives.org
I have to pay for midwifery care?
In BC the Medical Services Plan pays for the services of Registered
Midwives. If you are covered under the BC Medical Services Plan,
all you have to do is show your BC Care Card. For women who are
not registered with MSP midwives may also bill privately –
ask at the clinic if you are not sure if you are registered.
I have a midwife and a doctor at the same time?
The Medical Services Plan will cover one primary care provider for
mom and baby, for the duration of pregnancy, throughout labour and
birth, and for the first two months postpartum. The choice of caregiver
for a normal, healthy pregnancy is each woman’s decision to
make and will either be a midwife, a family physician, and in some
areas of BC, an obstetrician. Midwives are experts in healthy pregnancy,
normal births and well babies. We will consult with specialists
should the need arise. After the baby is born, the care of both
mom and baby is transferred back to their family physician who will
resume ongoing medical care.
is the working relationship between midwives and physicians?
At Pacific Midwifery we value the relationships we have developed
over the years with many kinds of specialists including physicians,
nurses, obstetricians, pediatricians and lactation consultants.
We are trained to recognize the indications of when to consult with
our colleagues and when to transfer care during pregnancy, birth
and post-partum as set out by the College
of Midwives of BC.
experience and training do midwives have?
This varies. Ask your midwife and she will be happy to share her
background and experience with you. All Registered Midwives in BC,
regardless of their educational backgrounds, have demonstrated a
high level of competency as required by the College of Midwives
of BC through rigorous written, clinical and oral examinations.
I have a midwife and still give birth in the hospital?
Midwives support womens’ right to choose the place of birth
and offer women home or hospital births. All Registered Midwives
obtain and maintain hospital privileges so they can provide comprehensive
care in both the hospital and home setting.
having a midwife mean I can't have an epidural?
The appropriate use of a range of natural and pharmaceutical pain
relief options, including epidurals, is part of the midwifery scope
of care. Paramount in midwifery practice is that women feel respected
and supported so that they are able to give birth safely, with power
all visits with my midwife take place in my home?
Most midwives have clinics where prenatal and some post-natal visits
take place although there is a wide variety in practice settings.
At Pacific Midwifery your prenatal care will be in the clinic, and
for the first two weeks after your baby is born we will visit you
at home. After the first two weeks your visits are usually in the
clinic, with a final visit around six weeks
is the difference between a midwife and a doula?
Doulas do not provide medical care, and do not deliver babies. Midwives
are trained to provide all necessary medical care and ensure 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 labouring woman
and her partner, and are a positive addition to the birth team for
those couples who desire extra support. The assistance of a Doula
can lead to lower medical interventions including less Cesarean
section births and enable you to focus on your work together as
parents both in labour and after your baby is born. For more information
about doulas, see bcdoulas.org