What is a Midwife?
Midwives are primary healthcare providers who provide prenatal, labour, birth, and postpartum care to pregnant people and their newborns. Midwives are responsible for all aspects of prenatal care, provide clinical monitoring and support during labour, and take care of clients and newborns for up to 6 weeks following birth.
Do I need to pay for midwifery services?
Midwifery services are covered through the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. All residents of Ontario, with or without OHIP coverage, have their midwifery services paid for through this program (please note, this does not include hospital fees and some lab fees).
How do I know if midwifery care is right for me?
Midwives provide maternity care based on the tenets of:
- Continuity of Care – meaning you’ll get to develop a relationship with your midwife and know who will attend you in labour and assist you in giving birth to your baby
- Informed Choice – meaning that you are the primary decision-maker in your care and your midwife will provide you with the information about all of the choices you will make throughout your care
- Choice of Birthplace – meaning you have the choice to give birth at home or in the hospital
If these are things you would like to incorporate into your care, midwifery care is likely for you!
Do I need a referral?
You do not need a doctor’s referral to access midwifery care. Simply complete our intake form or call us as soon as you know you are pregnant.
Do I have to deliver my baby at home?
No – the choice is yours; you can choose to give birth where you feel most comfortable, either at home or the hospital. Home birth is a safe option for low-risk pregnancies. Our midwives hold privileges at Cambridge Memorial Hospital, and our clinic is located adjacent to the hospital.
In Cambridge, about 20% of babies delivered by a midwife are born at home, and 80% are born at Cambridge Memorial Hospital.
Do I need to see a doctor and a midwife during my pregnancy?
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Does having a midwife mean I can’t have an epidural in labour?
Not at all! Midwives offer a full range of pain relief options in the hospital setting – including epidural. Do I need to see a doctor and a midwife during my pregnancy?
Midwives provide complete pregnancy, labour, birth, and postpartum care until six weeks after your baby is born for birthing parents and their babies. This includes ordering all necessary lab tests and ultrasounds. If a complication or concern presents during your pregnancy, labour, postpartum, or with your infant, your midwife will consult with the most appropriate physician. You should continue seeing your family physician for non-pregnancy related concerns.
Do I need to see a doctor and a midwife during my pregnancy?
How often do I see my midwife?
Born Midwives will generally see their clients for their first prenatal appointment sometime between 8-10 weeks of pregnancy. Following your first appointment, you will be seen about every 4-5 weeks until you are 28 weeks, every 2-3 weeks until you are 36 weeks, then weekly until you have your baby. Once your baby is born, your midwife will see you at home or in hospital 2-3 times in the first week to ensure you and baby are transitioning well. Your midwives will then see you and your baby in our clinic at 2, 4, and 6 weeks postpartum. Following your last visit, we will recommend that you schedule a well-baby check-up with your family physician. Clinic appointments are typically 30-45 minutes in length other than your first appointment, which is approximately 60 minutes.
Please note that during COVID 19 we are following best-practice guidelines and operating on a reduced in-person visit schedule. Virtual appointments in between in-person appointments are available.
How do I sign up for midwifery care?
To request care with Born Midwives, please visit our Contact Us page and fill out our online secure registration form. One of our midwives or support staff will call you within 1-2 business days to schedule your first appointment. You may also be referred through your primary care provider (family physician/nurse practitioner/naturopathic doctor). For care providers, referrals can be made through the Ocean e-referral system, via referral letter, or phone call.
Am I too old or too young to have a midwife?
Midwives see clients of any age. Those at certain ages may be at increased risk for certain complications in pregnancy but this does not preclude one from midwifery care. If risk factors present during your pregnancy, your midwife may make certain recommendations for your care, which can include consultation with a physician. Consultation means you’ll visit a physician at least once during your care who will review your health and may make recommendations about how to care for you and your baby the best in pregnancy. In most circumstances, midwives will continue to be your primary care provider.
Can I have a midwife if I’ve had a previous caesarean section?
Yes! Your midwife will take an in-depth history of your previous birth(s) and, with your permission, review the records from your Caesarean section(s). They will then discuss your options with you. Please see our resources page for information on birth after C-section.
What tests can a midwife order?
Midwives can order the standard blood work required in pregnancy, including tests to look at the health of your bloodstream, screen you for specific diseases, and determine your risk of having a baby with specific chromosomal or developmental concerns. Midwives are also able to order obstetrical ultrasounds.
What training do midwives have?
Midwives who have started their careers in Ontario go through the Midwifery Education Program (MEP) to obtain a 4 year Baccalaureate Degree of Health Sciences in Midwifery offered at McMaster University in Hamilton, Toronto Metropolitan University in Toronto, and formerly, Laurentian University in Sudbury.
Midwives who are new to working in Canada but who have trained as midwives elsewhere in the world must complete the International Midwifery Pre-registration Program (IMPP) which is offered through the College of Midwives of Ontario. This program ensures that midwives trained abroad are educated about the standards of midwifery care in Canada through both classroom teaching and completing a clinical practicum with an Ontario registered midwife prior to practicing independently. Please visit www.ontariomidwives.ca for more information.
What should I do if I have a concern about my care?
We strive to provide you with excellent care throughout your pregnancy, labour, and postpartum. If you are not satisfied with the care you are receiving, we strongly encourage you to bring these concerns to your midwife. If this is not possible, we request that you discuss your concerns with another midwife on your team or let our administrator know you’d like to speak to a practice partner. If you have serious concerns about a midwife’s clinical care and your concerns are not being addressed, you can make an official complaint with the College of Midwives of Ontario. Complaints are taken extremely seriously and may result in disciplinary action.
Am I guaranteed to get a specific midwife on my team for my delivery?
Our goal is to provide continuity of care, including having someone you know present throughout your labour and delivery. Almost 90% of the time, we expect that this will be a midwife from your team. However, each midwife cares for several clients each month and sometimes multiple clients may require a midwife at the same time. In the event a midwife from your team is not immediately available to care for you, another one of our fantastic midwives on another team will look after you until one of your known midwives is available.
What happens if I miss or am late for an appointment?
If you miss an appointment, you may contact the office to reschedule it during a time your midwife has available in their clinic. Please give as much notice as possible if you need to cancel an appointment as this allows for us to give that appointment to another client who may need it.
If you are a few minutes late for an appointment, your midwife will accomplish as much as possible during the time you have remaining. If you are 15 minutes or more late for an appointment, your appointment will need to be rescheduled for another time.
Do I need to take prenatal classes?
Prenatal classes are not a requirement, but they offer a wealth of valuable information whether this is your first baby or beyond, and thus we highly recommend them.
General prenatal classes offer information on nutrition, changes to your body during pregnancy, how labour works, strategies to cope with labour, breastfeeding, and newborn care. They are a fantastic way to not only prepare for childbirth and early parenting, but also to meet other pregnant people who are going through similar experiences. Many find the friends they make through prenatal classes can provide a great support network throughout pregnancy and following delivery.
Prenatal classes are available in a variety of different formats – with both in person and virtual options available.
In addition to general prenatal classes, there are also classes which focus on specific topics, like breastfeeding, fitness, introduction of a 2nd baby to a sibling, or strategies to cope with labour (e.g. hypnobirthing). Please see our resources page for a list of prenatal classes available in our community.
Check out our Facebook and Instagram to learn when prenatal classes are being offered in Cambridge!