Frequently Asked Questions
What is a midwife?
The midwife is a specialist in normal childbirth. She is a skilled practitioner who assesses, monitors and provides care during pregnancy, childbirth and the first 4-6 weeks postpartum. As midwives, we are dedicated to helping families define and access their individual health choices in the childbearing year.
Midwives view pregnancy and birth as normal states for healthy women, and we promote normal birth without unnecessary or routine intervention. Your midwives are the primary caregivers for your pregnancy, birth and postpartum care. You do not see a physician during pregnancy unless an indication for consultation or transfer of care arises.
Of course, you would still see your family physician for non-pregnancy related conditions should the need arise.
Midwives provide continuity of care during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. You will come to know our small team throughout your care.
What can I expect from a midwife-attended hospital birth?
Midwives are a part of the formal health care system and obtain hospital privileges. Midwives focus on improving the quality of your pregnancy experience, by helping to keep your pregnancy as healthy as possible. The personal, time intensive prenatal care provided by midwives, with its emphasis on education and prevention, will help you approach your birth feeling prepared, and comfortable with your attendant. Your midwife will be with you through most of your active labour and shortened hospital stay. Midwives care for you and your baby postpartum and help you with breastfeeding.
Is early discharge from hospital safe?
Most people are surprised to learn how much postpartum care and support midwives provide. Midwives are on call for emergencies 24 hours a day. We come to see you at home within 24 hours of your discharge, and at least two more times during the first week. This kind of monitoring and breastfeeding support makes early discharge quite safe for midwifery clients.
How would choosing midwives affect the role of my partner?
Midwives respect the importance of the family (as defined by the woman), and provide care to strengthen your confidence in yourselves as parents. Partners sometimes worry that they will feel left out if midwives are involved. In fact, we support and encourage partners. Many partners have found that midwifery care helped free them from pressure to be an expert, from the tension of trying to know what to offer or suggest at each point in labour. This means that the partner, while still the main support person, can participate more fully on an emotional level throughout the birth. Naturally, when a partner is absent or unavailable, the close relationship the mother has developed with her midwives can help to fill the gap by providing continuity with known caregivers.
I'm interested in having my baby at home, but everyone says it's not safe. Is it?
In our culture, we grow up with the belief that the hospital is the only safe location for birth. In fact, there is no evidence to support this. Studies and statistics from home birth practices and European countries where home birth continues to be a common option demonstrate that birth at home is a safe choice for healthy, low-risk mothers with skilled attendants. There are different risks to both hospital and home birth. We discuss and explore the factors that improve the safety of your chosen place of birth. The College of Midwives of Ontario, after carefully examining the evidence, has concluded that home is the location in which birth is most likely to remain normal (fn.1). In fact, Registered Midwives are required to be competent to attend births in all settings, thereby protecting a woman's right to choose birth at home.
What are my options for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)?
A report from the Ministry of Health confirms this and recommends that women with one previous lower segment incision be designated as low-risk in subsequent pregnancies (fn. 2). Supportive caregivers, good prenatal education and care, skilled labour support, and appropriate timing of admission to hospital are all important to VBAC.
Are midwives anti-hospital or technology?
No, absolutely not! The best maternity care occurs when there is cooperation between midwives and obstetricians, whose specialized skills can be essential in high risk situations. Although most normal births require little or no intervention, midwives are trained in emergency skills and carry emergency equipment such as oxygen and resuscitation equipment, and anti-hemorrhagic drugs to all births. Hospital back-up and emergency equipment are important to the safety of home birth. Registered Midwives must practice in accordance with standards set by the College of Midwives. These standards include detailed guidelines about when to consult with or transfer care to a physician.
Can I afford midwifery care?
The full course of midwifery care, which includes prenatal, birth and postpartum care, is fully funded by the Ministry of Health.
How do I get more information?
Phone us to arrange to attend an information session. It is free, and does not obligate you in any way. We will give you written information about our practice. This is your chance to meet us, ask all your questions, and tell us about your previous birth/s (if any). If you have doubts about your risk status, we can review your history.
What other services do midwives provide?
We are available to speak to your group or class about midwifery and a variety of pregnancy/parenting related topics. An extensive childbirth resource library is available for client and community use. We also provide fertility counselling and education for those wishing to plan, achieve or avoid pregnancy.
1. IRCM Statement on Birth, June 1991, p. 2
2. Appropriate Use of Cesarean Section, March 1991, p. 31
Do you have a question not answered here? Do you need more information? Feel free to contact us!
176 Wyndham St. North, Suite 3
Guelph ON N1H 8N9
Tel: 519 823-9785
Fax: 519 823-9251
email us at: email@example.com
Our regular office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.