Frequently Asked Questions
- Is midwifery care safe?
There is a large body of evidence that supports midwifery care as a safe choice for low-risk healthy women. In fact, researchers found that women and babies did better on average in countries where midwifery was the normal care.
FACT: Midwifery clients experienced lower rates of forceps, vacuum extractions, cesarean sections, episiotomies, infections and babies born requiring resuscitation, in studies where midwifery was compared to physician led care.
- Is midwifery care legal?
Yes, since 1998 midwifery has been regulated in Alberta through the College of Midwives of Alberta. The title “midwife” is protected and its use by anyone other than a Registered Midwife is illegal. Currently, there are approximately 80 Registered Midwives in the province. For a complete listing see the College of Midwives of Alberta website.
- Do I have to pay for midwifery care?
As of April 1, 2009 Alberta Health Services fully funds the course of care for midwifery services.
- Can I have a midwife and a doctor at the same time?
No. Midwives are experts in healthy pregnancy, normal births and well babies. Midwives will consult with family doctors, obstetricians, pediatricians or other specialists should the need arise. About six weeks post-partum, your care is transferred back to your family physician who will resume responsibility for the health of you and your new baby.
- What is the working relationship between midwives and obstetricians?
Midwives consult with family doctors, obstetricians, pediatricians or and other specialists if situations arise that fall outside the Midwife’s scope of practice. Midwives have clear indications of when to consult and when to transfer care during pregnancy, birth and post-partum as set out by the Midwifery Health Disciplines Committee. This information is made available to every woman who chooses a midwife as part of the fundamental principle of midwifery care: informed choice.
- What experience and training do midwives have?
All Registered Midwives in Alberta have the equivalent of a Bachelor’s Degree in Midwifery. They have demonstrated a high level of competency as required by the College of Midwives of Alberta through rigorous written, clinical and oral examinations.
- Can I have a midwife and still give birth in the hospital?
Midwives support women’s right to choose the place of birth and offer women home, birth centre or hospital births. All Registered Midwives maintain hospital privileges so they can provide comprehensive care in all settings.
- Will I have access to the same tests and prescriptions that I would have had with a doctor?
Midwives can order all lab and diagnostic testing as well as prescription medications that are relevant to pregnancy.
- Does having a midwife mean I can't have an epidural?
Midwives have a low intervention style of care. This is based on our belief, supported by research, that the physiological process of birth works best without interference. For example, midwives use natural alternatives such as water, position changes and continuous labour support to help cope with pain in labour as opposed to the routine use of drugs and birth technology. Although sometimes necessary, epidurals, drugs, and other medical technology are regarded by midwives as tools rather than routine interventions.
- How often do I see my midwife?
Usually visits begin when pregnancy is confirmed and end when the baby is six weeks of age. Visits every three to five weeks for the first and second trimester are typical. By 30 weeks gestation we begin visiting with our clients every two to three weeks and weekly after 36 weeks until the birth. Visits are usually 20 to 60 minutes long, allowing the midwives to assess your physical health, allow time for informed decision making, and to determine how well you are doing emotionally and psychologically. Between visits there is a midwife on call 24 hours a day that you may telephone with concerns. In the post-partum period, 2-3 visits are conducted in your home for the first week following the birth. Subsequent visits take place at our clinic until care is transferred back to your family physician, around six weeks after your baby arrives.
- What 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, 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. For more information about doulas, contact the Calgary Doula Association.
- How do I Become a Client?
If you are interested in the services offered by Birth Partnership Midwives (new or repeat clients), please click here to fill out our client intake form. Additionally please also register on the Province-wide centralized system for midwifery care by visiting https://www.aamclientcare.ca/waitlist/register