What is Midwifery Care?
Clients in midwifery care see midwives exclusively as their primary care providers; clients do not see family physicians for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care simultaneously. Midwives are a choice of maternity care provider, not an additional service to what you would receive from a physician.
Midwives provide prenatal care on the same schedule as a family doctor or obstetrician, conduct births, and provide postpartum care to mothers after birth. If a complication arises during your care, your midwife will make timely arrangements for you to be seen by a doctor or another care provider as appropriate.
You don’t need a referral from a doctor to have a midwife, and the healthcare system covers 100% of midwifery care for all residents of Canada, even if you don’t have OHIP. There is absolutely no cost to you.
Currently, there are over 900 midwives in Ontario registered with the College of Midwives of Ontario. In 1994, Ontario became the first province in Canada to regulate midwifery. Ontario Midwives practice in clinics in 100 communities across Ontario and approximately 15% of all births in the province are attended by midwives.
The College of Midwives of Ontario (CMO) regulates midwifery in Ontario. They determine our scope of practice and our standards of care. All midwives in Ontario are registered with the CMO, and are required to provide maternity care which meets these standards.
The Ontario model of midwifery is based on three principles:
Continuity of Care
Midwifery care is available to pregnant families throughout their pregnancy, labour, birth, and the first six weeks after birth. Midwives spend time developing relationships with clients and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Clients are active decision-makers in the care they receive; midwives give information to help you make informed decisions.
Choice of Birthplace
Midwifery clients may choose to give birth at home or in hospital. Midwives maintain hospital privileges at many Ontario hospitals and work collaboratively with other health care practitioners.